新 年 快 乐 – Xīn nián kuài lè (Happy New Year)!
30th January 2019
Welcome to this week’s blog, I hope you are all having a prosperous and positive start to the New Year. Whilst the New Year for many of us is well under way, for some it is yet to arrive… On the 5th of February the Chinese New Year will commence, with celebrations recognising the beginning of the Year of The Pig!
The Pig, the twelfth of all zodiac animals, is a symbol of wealth and good fortune (signed particularly from their ‘chubby faces’ and ‘big ears’!). You are a Zodiac Pig if you were born in the years of: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and now 2019. Being a Zodiac Pig can mean a number of things in Chinese tradition, namely having a “beautiful personality”, being “blessed with good fortune in life” and wanting everyone to live in harmony – sounds pretty good!
Zodiac Pigs are said to find an array of luck in their lives, however sometimes needing to work hard to avoid the pitfalls of life’s ups and downs – something many of us can relate to. With ‘Blue Monday’ (the apparently “saddest day of the year”) only a few weeks behind us it’s important to remember that the start of a New Year may not bring complete happiness for us all. In these times of hardship, as suggested for the Zodiac Pigs this year, it is important to remember that a key element to utilizing your luck is timing. Perhaps if your luck is down and things are feeling about heavy consider whether maybe the time isn’t right to “harvest the fruits of your labour”- a key element in many Asian religions.
In times of difficulty instead of consulting the same problem over and over perhaps the best thing to do is reach out to somebody. As demonstrated by the twelve Zodiacs we are all different. However, we can be connected through our empathy, kindness and compassion. It’s important to remember that it’s ok not to be ok and if you need help there is always somebody to turn to, especially within the university. There are a range of staff/student support services available including the Chaplaincy team who are there if you need somebody to talk to, a place for prayer or thought – or even just a warm brew and a chat!
With this in mind, over these next few weeks let’s all try to remember that the Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate new beginnings and let fortune and happiness surround you. Chinese Blessings can be celebrated and appreciated by wearing red in recognition of its significance amongst the celebration. A key act of celebration indulged in during this time is the giving of hóng bāo (红包) (red envelopes), traditionally given containing money (压岁钱 – yā suì qián) as a blessing for the New Year – literally meaning “money to anchor the year(s)”, “lucky money” or “New Year’s money”. In line with this, the university will be celebrating by sharing pig shaped sweets and red envelopes containing traditional blessings. So keep your eyes open around campus for blessings to start the Year of the Pig with tidings of peace and harmony!
Thank you for reading and I hope whatever your Zodiac sign you have success, peace and harmony throughout the year!
笑口常開 (xiào kǒu cháng kāi) – May you smile often!