Thursday, 30 January 2014

Lunar New Year 2014: the year of the horse

More than 60,000 students from outside the UK were accepted at UK universities and colleges in 2013 alone. With such a multicultural student population, you can expect not only be able to do things ‘the UK way’ but also see, taste and celebrate cultures and traditions from all over the world.

Lunar New Year is one of the highlights on the social calendars of campuses up and down the UK. We’re showcasing what universities do to mark this vibrant festival through Pinterest, but you might be wondering what the meanings behind the traditions are. The festival is celebrated by a number of cultures, but here OKHIWI explain what this exciting time of year means to the Chinese.

What is the Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year 2013 at the University of Sussex
Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. The celebrations run from the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the ‘Lantern Festival’ on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the ‘Lunar New Year’. But it’s not just a Chinese festival. From late January to mid-February, celebrations take place in other countries including Vietnam and Malaysia. In fact it’s celebrated around the world, wherever people from these countries have settled. 

There are many regional customs and traditions related to the celebration of the Lunar New Year. In China, just like the Western New Year’s Eve, the day before Lunar New Year's Day is an occasion for families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to have a serious ‘spring-clean’ to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good luck in the coming year. Windows and doors are decorated with red coloured paper and paper chains reflecting themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. This is apart from the usual lighting of firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

The Year of the Horse – what will it mean?

In the past, the horse provided quick and reliable transport for people long before the car was invented. With a horse you could get from A to B very easily, so it is not only a symbol of travelling, but also a sign of speedy success.

The Year of the Wooden Horse – 31 January 2014 through to 18 February 2015, is expansive and exciting! It rewards honest opinions and disciplined thinking.

Social networks will be buzzing and people will be more forgiving and cooperative. It's a great year for travel, parties, and community events. 

In Wood years, teamwork brings out the best in everyone. You'll find it easier to get agreement and have fun in the process. In the first half of the year families will work together and gain exciting opportunities. Later in the year there will be more time to follow your heart.

Love is in the air! A Horse year is really lucky for romantic relationships. Marriages made this year hold the promise of long lasting happiness and stability. 

What year were you born in and what does it mean?

If you were born in Tiger, Horse, or Dog years, you will enjoy a boost of cheerfulness that makes you quite popular. You'll have more fun with friends old and new. Positive feedback enhances self-confidence. Share your thoughts! Social networking will allow you to spread your influence.

Celebrations at the University of Bedfordshire
For those of you born in Rat, Dragon, and Monkey years, you'll be willing to take more risks to get what you want. Your intuition is strong and your creative juices are flowing! Even though you like to take the lead, it will be even easier to be a team player. 

Being born in Ox, Snake, and Rooster years will help you use patience and determination to support a foundation for success. What you sense about people and environments will be very accurate. People are drawn to you. It's an ideal year for developing your skills in any area of interest. 

Those born in Rabbit, Sheep, or Pig years will be well respected for their kindness. You'll play a quiet but vital role in any group or family activity. Step out of your comfort zone and embrace life to the fullest. Anything that brings you joy is where to focus more time and attention.

Find out which animal from the Chinese zodiac relates to the year you were born:

OKHIWI was launched in September 2013 to connect students and visitors from China to everything they need while they're in the UK.  They aim to bring the best of the UK to Chinese students and visitors, making their stay as exciting and unique as possible.

Working with their network of students and other visitors, business partners and co-sponsors, the philosophy of OKHIWI is to generally make life easier for Chinese people coming to the UK. They can help them to acclimatise to the change in culture, to access services, develop wider social networks (both online and in the real world) and to make the most of everything that the UK has to offer.


CedarBough said...

too bad you still are obsessed with this as being a Chinese Holiday. Why can't you say "this is how the Chinese celebrate lunar new year" and then also include information from other cultures. You paint all cultures celebrating the lunar new year as though they are Chinese oriented/derived and celebrating in a similar way. so it seems your post reflects the same lack of understanding of cultural diversity that you want to work to overcome, except for in your case you know about how the Chinese celebrate this particular day/stretch of days.

UCAS said...

Hi CedarBough, thank you for your comment and for reading our blog post. We understand that Lunar New Year is a festival that a number of different cultures celebrate, and we’ve tried to get that across in our introduction where we’ve written ‘The festival is celebrated by a number of cultures, but here OKHIWI explain what this exciting time of year means to the Chinese.’

Although this piece offers an explanation of how the Chinese celebrate Lunar New Year, we hope it will also inspire university applicants to find out more about the different ways this festival is celebrated at the universities they might be applying to.

Thank you again for your feedback and for taking the time to read our blog.

Mike Raven said...

great post, really informative :)

UCAS said...

Thanks Mike, glad you enjoyed reading it.

Do Manh said...

Lunar New Year aka Chinese New Year 2014.Tet Nguyen Dan, or Tet for short, is considered the biggest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam. Vietnamese believe that the color of red and yellow will bring good fortune, which may explain why these colors can be seen everywhere in Lunar New Year.