Happy Chinese New Year!
I've been to Chinatown in San Francisco (the largest in the US) many times around Chinese New Year and I always thought the signs in the windows that said Gung Hay Fat Choy meant Happy New Year. Um... not really.
About twenty years ago (gosh, can't believe it's been that long), I had a Chinese exchange student live with me for a year. "Ray" (the Americanized name he used) was from Shanghai, and when I said Gung Hay Fat Choy to him he gave me a funny look (actually he gave me a lot of funny looks in the time he lived with me, but that's another story).
I said, "Doesn't that mean Happy New Year?"
He said, "No, it means 'I hope you will be rich.'"
To which I replied, "That would make my year very happy!"
He laughed and agreed.
Anyway, this is the Year of the Rabbit (or hare). One of the twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac. I was born in the Year of the Rabbit so I feel like this is "my year!" In case you aren't familiar with the twelve animals (most Chinese restaurants here in California have them somewhere -- placemats, menus, posters on the wall) they are:
According to one Chinese zodiac site I visited, those born in the year of the Rabbit are popular, compassionate, sincere, and they avoid conflict. They also like to be surrounded by friends and family. Now honestly, who doesn't? And who would argue with that description?
This same site says Rabbits are good communicators and good careers for them include actor, teacher, fashion designer, or writer! Okay, looks like they got that one right.
Interestingly enough, my DH was also born in the year of the Rabbit... or maybe not. His birthday always falls very close and sometimes ON Chinese New Year. So it's possible he's actually a Tiger, which would explain a lot... Oh, and careers for Tigers include artist.
What is your Chinese zodiac sign? Ever been to a Chinese New Year celebration? Please share the details. Oh, and gung hay fat choy -- I really do hope you'll be rich!