Ahead of Chinese New Year this Friday (February 12th, 2021), a foundation doctor from North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has explained how she will mark the Year of the Ox.
Chien Nee Gan, 25, a foundation doctor at the Cumberland Infirmary, is not able to fly back to Malaysia to see her family this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “Unfortunately, it is going to be difficult to celebrate Chinese new year due to the Covid restrictions.
“The plan is to stay in Carlisle and maybe get some delivery of Chinese groceries to make something nice for Chinese new year but otherwise, it might be after the pandemic before we could travel back to Malaysia to see our families.
“When I was a student, we used to do steamboats (hot pots) or potlucks (buffet party) at a friend's place during Chinese New Year.
“We also do something called 'lou sang', it is an appetiser dish and it is like a tradition to start the new year with prosperous wishes.
“I was born in Malaysia and have always celebrated Chinese New Year in Malaysia so I have not actually celebrated in China.
“All of my family is residing in Malaysia now, including my grandparents generation.”
In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of 12 animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
So the animals will have a year dedicated to them once every 12 years in a cycle. This year is year of the Ox. People born in the Year of the Ox are said to be are known for possessing traits such as diligence, dependability, strength and determination. They have a truthful nature and view family and work as very important. Possessing great patience and a strong desire to advance in life, oxen work hard to achieve their goals. They are not easily influenced by others and try to do things in their own way. They almost always have a detailed plan and enjoy great success as a result.
Before the festivities begin, people clean their homes really well to make them ready for the celebrations. Then, when New Year’s Day comes, there is a tradition not to pick up a broom, in case you sweep the good luck for the New Year out of the door.
In China, schools and businesses usually close for the first few days of the new year, so that everyone can spend time with their families. People enjoy eating lots of delicious food, including noodle soup, which traditionally brings luck for the year ahead. Adults give red envelopes to children with money inside too.
There are usually parades and performances with people dressed in traditional clothes.
Fireworks are also set off, because it is thought that noise and lights will scare away any evil spirits for the coming months.
Things you should avoid doing at Chinese New Year:
- Eating porridge
- Doing needle work
- Washing clothes and hair