Archive for the ‘Chinese New Year’ Category

Getting ready for Chinese New Year

January 22, 2014

Dr Sun Yat-Sen Garden -cropI didn’t expect to see much in Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden in the middle of January, but when I visited last Saturday, I found it blooming with red lanterns and bustling with preparations for Chinese New Year. I was also surprised to see winter jasmine in flower and many trees full of early buds.

The Chinese  lunar New Year (which begins on January 31 this year) is a time for sweeping away the old (dust, clutter, debts, worries) and welcoming in the new (renewing hope for health, happiness, and good fortune). Staff and volunteers at the garden were busy cleaning, tidying, tying up loose-ends, and decorating in preparation for the upcoming Year of the Horse Temple Fair, Feb 2 (2014). Red lanterns are hung around the garden to bring good luck (red is considered the most auspicious colour because of its association with fire, the sun, energy, light, and life-blood, which demons fear, so it also keeps demons away), and they welcome back the light of spring.

A few images and haiku from my visit:


New Year’s lanterns─
the courtyard mosaics
swept clear


preparing for
the New Year─
peony buds


still pond─
finding the courage
to say goodbye






Happy Year of the Rat!

February 5, 2008

rat novelMy novel The Truth About Rats (and Dogs) talks about rats and about Chinese New Year, so I couldn’t let the start of the Year of the Rat pass without blogging about the occassion. So, Gung Hay Fat Choy! (or Gong Xi Fa Cai!).

People who were born under the sign of the rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996) are considered ambitious and hard-working – like their rodent counter-parts, who are diligent seekers of food. When rats sense food within reach, they will chew through almost anything to get to it. Similarly, when humans with this zodiac sign want something, they will as work as hard as a rat to achieve their goal. Apparently, 2008 will be a good year for rat people. Obstacles and setbacks can be overcome, and success is immanent (although it may be temporary).

I’ve been taking an online art class (cool concept and a lot of fun) with artist Karyn Gartel, and I’m using some of the techniques in the first few class assignments to make some Year of the Rat art, which I’ll post here as soon as it’s done. In the meantime, you can click here for last year’s Chinese New Year post and art or click here for a past rat post.

And here’s my Year of the Rat art:
Year of the Rat art 

Celebrating Chinese New Year

February 15, 2007

Since preparations have begun for the celebration of the Lunar New Year, I’d like to wish a happy new year to everyone! Gung Hay Fat Choy, if you speak Cantonese, or Gong Xi Fa Cai, if you speak Mandarin (wishing you happiness and prosperity).

Chinese New Year is a time for settling old debts and quarrels, cleaning away the dust and clutter of the past year, and making way for new or renewed prosperity, happiness and health. It’s a time for new clothes, family gatherings and food (especially food symbolic of good fortune and long life). It is also a festival that celebrates the coming of spring.

In honour of the occasion and all my friends who celebrate Chinese New Year, I made the artwork below with images of spring and good fortune (including flowers cut from “lucky money” envelopes, stems from “lucky paper,” cookie fortune leaves, and coins).

Chinese New Year collage

Also, I can’t resist giving a plug to my most recent novel, The Truth About Rats (and Dogs) (see the “My Books” page in the side bar for more info), which includes a Chinese New Year Celebration (I had a lot of fun researching this part of the book). To find out ten things I learned while doing this research, check out my post at cwillbc. And by the way, I just found out The Truth About Rats (and Dogs) has been nominated for the Atlantic Canada readers’ choice Hackmatack Award (for 2008)!