Today is the start of the Chinese New Year, Year of the Sheep. There is argument that it’s actually Year of Goat. Perhaps, therefore, it is Year of the Shoat or Year of the Geep!
My Chinese Zodia sign is Year of the Sheep and so I guess this year’s Chinese New Year requires extra celebration. I’m not actually one for horoscopes, but it is interesting that I conform to a number of elements attributed to this sign. I like to think I am polite, mild mannered, shy, imaginative, determined and have good taste. Others may disagree.
I have a few Chinese friends, but there is one I hold particularly dear, Xiaojing. She was an international student in the UK and the year that she was here she invited me to join her and her friends in their New Year celebrations. I don’t like New Year – I feel pressurised to have a good time, party wild, drink lots and then make a bunch of promises that I know I will never keep. New Year just fills me with dread!
Chinese New Year is quite different. I went to my friend’s flat and was immediately welcomed into the group. I knew a few faces, and I was one of only a handful of non-Chinese. The group had divided cooking responsibilities and the non-Chinese of us were introduced to each item that was being cooked and we were invited to help. Stirring the year cake was marginally more successful than the dumpling making. Following our meal, we got to learn more about the Chinese culture and played games. There was no alcohol involved, nobody was too loud, it was just a fun evening.
I hope to think that the Chinese students enjoyed sharing their culture just as much as I enjoyed learning from them and I hope that we were all able to make the Chinese students not feel so far from home during such an important celebration in their calendar as we welcomed the Year of the Dog.
So, back to 2015, and here we are in the Year of the Sheep. The sheep is quite low in the rankings of the Chinese zodiac signs, but now I am quite proud of my sheep, especially now that I am a knitter. I especially love the postal service’s efforts in Japan 🙂
新年快乐 – Happy New Year