Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome to the 2011 Chinese New Year

Welcome to the New Lunar New Year that will start on February 3, 2011. This date is the most important and festive of the traditional Chinese holidays. The 2011 Chinese New Year is the year of the Metal Rabbit. The Rabbit is known as one of the luckiest and diplomat animal sign, so this year will bring more calm, prudence, wealth and peace - a beneficial period after Global Crisis problems.

Although the Rabbit is said that is shine and timid, the Metal influences will bring strength and forceful energy.
The first day of  New Chinese Year starts on second new moon after the winter solstice (the New Moon is in Aquarius), so, the date varies being based on the lunar and solar calendars, but always falls in late January and mid February. The Chinese New Year Eve is called "Chu Xi  除夕"  which means "discard the old" (Chu 除 means discard, removal;  Xi 夕 means night).
In China and in other big cities  with significant Chinese populations from other countries, as usual, will begin the "Festival of Spring 春联" named also " Festival of New Beginning" - a celebration of change, when people welcome spring and welcome the new year with new prosperity.

 "Welcome Spring and the Good Fortune / ying chun jie fu  / 迎春接福 "

People will assist/ participate to cheerful parades with colorful costumes, dancing lions and dragons puppets, bamboo and orange-red paper or silk decorations and of course amazing fireworks.
The Chinese tradition is every family cleans and decorates their homes to sweep away the old and ill-fortune and make way for success and good luck with blooming plants (to symbolize rebirth and new growth), orange fruitful trees, or red paper cut-outs with "happiness" and "prosperity" themes, and listen traditional Chinese music:

During the Chinese Song and Yuan Dynasties and later during the Qing Dynasty bulb bowls (or bulb pots) were used as containers for flower bulbs, such as narcissus. Narcissus blooms symbolize prosperity and were popular in China around the time of the lunar New Year (late January - February) when the Chinese celebrate the coming of Spring.

Double-coin symbol painted in relief on old Chinese bulb pot
Double-coin symbol painted in relief
I have one of these bulb / bonsai pots in my collection. It is an old Chinese Porcelain pot, made manually,  having on two sides the "double coin symbol" (good fortune) and traditional Chinese wishes with blooming flowers on other two sides. (the inscriptions, cherry branch, rose and narcissus flowers are painted in relief on the flower pot)

恭喜发财 gong xi fa cai symbols painted in relief
Gong  Xi Fa Cai inscription painted in relief

恭喜发财  / gong xi fa cai = Congratulations and Be Prosperous / Happy Chinese New Year

恭喜发财 gong xi fa cai symbols on old porcelain bulb pot 
The meaning of each word is:
恭 = gong = respectful
喜 = xi = enjoy, love
发 = fa= issue, dispatch
财 = cai = wealth, prosperity

迎春接福 / ying chun jie fu = Welcome Spring and the Good Fortune 

迎春接福 / ying chun jie fu inscription on old Chinese bulb pot

The meaning of each word is:
迎 = ying = receive, welcome
春 = chun = spring
接 = jie = continue
福 = fu =  good fortune

Chinese New Year is not a traditional holiday to me, but we all can learn from this ancient civilization and I see no reason why we cannot celebrate this Spring event as well.

迎春接福 / ying chun jie fu / welcome spring and good fortune inscription on old Chinese flower pot
This year I potted in my cherry like color pot some traditional Narcissus (Daffodils) and miniature roses "Rosa Parade"  with red flowers.  Talking about flowers symbolism, red roses stand for hope, respect and courage and  red and yellow blends stand for jovial and happy feelings. I used also some Sempervivum "Hens and Chicks" , moss, Akadama, rocks and one small white lantern to decorate the pot.   I used cold resistant plants which survive and flourish during winter and could be kept indoor / outdoor  (in Vancouver area are mild temperatures).

Let's celebrate the last year's achievements (like old Chinese farmers) and pray for good luck and prosperity during the 2011, Year of the Rabbit!

 Narcissus and Mini roses potted in cherry Chinese porcelain pot


Joanna Jenkins said...

Happy Year of the Rabbit!! May it be a sweet and healthy year for you. (My husband was born in the year of the rabbit and carries a jade rabbit on his keychain.)
Cheers, jj

Xenia said...

How gorgeous, what a wonderful way to start off the New Year! I hope it's a great one for you!

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