January 28, 2017

Chinese New Year, 2017 ~ Year of the Fire Rooster

iPhone photos by Styrous®

papercut in window with the character written in 100 different ways  

When displayed as a Chinese ideograph, is often displayed upside-down on diagonal red squares. The reasoning is based on a wordplay: in nearly all varieties of Chinese: the words for "upside-down" (倒, Pinyin: dào) and "to arrive" (到, Pinyin: dào) are homophonous. Therefore, the phrase an "upside-down " sounds nearly identical to the phrase "Good luck arrives". Pasting the character upside-down on a door or doorpost thus translates into a wish for prosperity to descend upon a dwelling.     

Today is the start of the Chinese New Year which is also also known as the "Spring Festival" (simplified Chinese 春节; traditional Chinese 春節; Pinyin: Chūn Jié) in modern Mainland China

The Chinese calendar is lunisolar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February. In 2017, the first day of the Chinese New Year is on Saturday, January 28, initiating the year of the Rooster.   

The Rooster (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: /) is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac (and similar zodiacal systems) related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rooster is represented by the Earthly Branch character . The name is also translated into English as Cock or Chicken. Rooster is the only bird included in the Chinese zodiac. However, the Chinese term is more generic, as it applies to barnyard fowl of either sex.     

Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness" ( (About this sound , Unicode U+798F) ), "wealth", and "longevity".        

9th Street, Oakland 

According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would eat villagers, especially children. One year, all the villagers decided to hide from the beast. An old man appeared before the villagers and said that he's going to stay the night, and decided to get revenge on the Nian. The villagers thought he was insane. The old man put red papers up and set off firecrackers. The day after, the villagers came back to their town to see that nothing was destroyed. They assumed that the old man was a deity who came to save them. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red and loud noises. When the New Year was about to come, the villagers would wear red clothes, hang red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount.    

Hongjun Laozu with the Nian 

Most importantly, the first day of the Chinese New Year is a time to honor one's elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. What a marvelous culture! 

Gung Hai Fat Choi!

Styrous® ~ Saturday, January 28, 2017



  1. Very interesting post. Happy New Year!

  2. That was a rather informative post. This past weekend our daughters' godfather was jokingly telling his wife that this was the year of the chicken not realizing that the Chinese didn't distinguish between male of female fowl. Loved the story about Nian and the reason why red is the color for the New Year. When did you take the picture of 9th Street in Oakland? Thank you for taking the time to enlighten us. Much love ❤️ Anita

  3. Thanks, Anita, both photos were shot 5 days ago on January 27.


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