The Traditional Holiday Greeting “恭禧發財”
- Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin)
- Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese)
In a phonetic pronunciation you can actually use, the Mandarin sounds pretty close to this (emphasis accent is in CAPS):
恭禧 – GONG She – expresses a congratulations or bestows a wish for joy.
發財 – FAH Ts’ai – expresses a hope for prosperity.
Because Mandarin is a tonal language, there are more nuances, but without going into all that, the above will get you pretty darn close, and close enough to be understood.
5 Fun Facts About Lunar New Year
#5 The Longest Dragon Dance Record Is Co-Held By Canada
The longest dragon dance, a parade favorite, was over three miles long, had over 3000 participants and was performed in Markham – Ontario, Canada.
The longest dancing dragon is 5,568.46 m (18,269 ft 2.3 in), achieved by The City of Markham, Ontario, Canada, the City of Zhongshan, China and The Cross-Cultural Community Services Association (TCCSA), at the Markham Civic Centre, in Markham, Ontario, Canada, on 30 September 2012. The head of the dragon was made of traditional materials, which included papier-mâché, foam and faux fur (for the beard) and held together by a wire frame. The rest of the dragon’s body and tail were made of waterproof nylon. The width of the dragon’s body was 93 cm (3 ft 0.61 in), the diameter was 157.48 cm (5 ft 2 in) and the dragon stood 182.88 cm (6 ft) from the bottom of each stainless steel pole to the top. The dragon danced for a total of 11 minutes and was facilitated by over 3,000 participants. The dragon was donated by the city of Zhongshan, China to the City of Markham, Ontario, Canada, for the attempt and the Mayors of both cities were at the event to accept the Guinness World Records certificate.
#4 The World’s Largest Human Migration
If you got a headache from Thanksgiving Day travel, you’ll want to skip any visit planned to China in the wekes leading up to the new year. Sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters typically return to their parents’ home to commemorate the passing of the year. About 40 million flights will be booked, and tens of billions of trips by car and boat will be taken. By contrast, about 4-6 million flights were booked for Thanksgiving travel in the U.S.
#3 Know Someone’s Age Without Asking
If you know this year’s zodiac sign and your zodiac animals in order, you can know somebody’s age simply by asking them for their sign. Because the animal signs do not repeat on a monthly basis like the western zodiac, you are very likely to know exactly how old a person is based on the Chinese zodiac… unless you mistake a 36-year-old for a 48-year-old or a 12-year-old for a 24-year-old.
#2 Forget 12 Zodiac Signs, Try 60
In addition to the one on 12 zodiac animals, there are five additional modifiers: wind, water, fire, metal, and earth. Each of the modifiers moves in 12 years cycles and depending on which cycle you were born in, the then-applicable modifier applies to your zodiac animal.
#1 For the First Time, NYC Schools Recognize the Holiday in 2016
Despite comprising 1/6 of the student population, students of Asian heritage who celebrated Lunar New Year have never had a single cultural holiday recognized by New York City public schools. Can you imagine going to a school where you have never had a holiday of ancestral cultural significance recognized? No Christmas, no Easter, no Hanukkah, no Yom Kippur, no Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha… nothing. These listed holidays have all already recognized by the school district. Instead, half the students of Asian descent have historically taken unexcused absences just to celebrate the one holiday with family. Finally this year 2016, things have changed.