Published on February 5th, 2014 | by Alastair Gilmour


Chinese New Year – Time to celebrate, neigh bother

Kung hey fat choi! That’s not an insult – far from it, it’s a call to have a happy new year

January 31 was the Chinese New Year – and until February 17 2015, it’s The Year of the Horse. It’s a time when ancestral spirits are celebrated, family unity is honoured and a happy future is anticipated. Strict customs are adhered to and superstition is rife, such as sweeping the floor before the big day else good fortune for the new year be brushed aside, and the wearing of red which symbolises sunshine and brightness.

The Chinese calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, with a complete cycle taking 60 years made up of five periods of 12 years – with each of them named after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed the Earth. Only 12 came to bid him farewell and, as a reward, he named a year after each one – horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, pig, rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon and snake.

Because of the cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and mid-February.

The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying: “This is the animal that hides in your heart”. Those born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty and good with their hands.

The Cheers A-Z on pages 28-29 list 15 Horse pubs (including two Stables and Dr Syntax, named after a champion racehorse). So, let’s wish all concerned kung hey fat choi and also hope 2014 is a good year for all the region’s pubs – especially the Horse ones.

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Alastair Gilmour

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