Happy Year of the Rat!
The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in Chinese culture. The fourteen-day holiday season, which launched on January 25th, represents fresh starts, family togetherness, and high hopes for a joyful, healthy, and prosperous new year. All over the world Chinese people travel home to spend time with their families, feast on traditional New Years dishes including dumplings and nian gao (sticky rice cakes), and set off firecrackers to welcome the new year. People eat fish (鱼 yú) because it sounds like the word for prosperity (余 yú), and hang paper cutouts of the character fú, or fortune, upside down because the phrase “fortune is upside-down” (福倒了 fú dào le) sounds like “fortune has arrived” (福到了 fú dào le)! 2020 is the Year of the Metal Rat (金鼠 jin shu).
Wondering why our Chinese New Year rodent is rocking a leather jacket and mullet? Each lunar year has a corresponding zodiac animal and element, and 2020 happens to be the Year of the Metal Rat (金鼠 jīn shǔ). Interestingly enough, the word for heavy metal music (金属乐 jīn shǔ yuè) actually sounds similar to the Year of the Metal Rat (金鼠年 jīn shǔ nián)! 2018 was the Year of the Earth Dog, 2019 was the Earth Pig, and 2020 is the first year of the Metal element. Those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be outgowing, optimistic, energetic, and intelligent. If you were born in the Year of the Rat, be sure to wear red every day for good luck (or carry a red guitar - that works too)!
We at the UCLA Confucius Institute wish you a new year filled with happiness, growth, and creativity. As a culturally-focused Confucius Institute based in the city of Los Angeles, a creative capital and home to immigrant communities from around the world, we believe that our city's rich diversity is the source of its strength. Our programs bring different traditions, art forms, and fresh ideas together to create new pathways to a brighter future. We wish you and your family a wonderfully happy and creative New Year! 恭喜发财 (gōngxǐ fācái) Congratulations and Prosperity!
Click here to learn how to make a favorite Chinese food dish: Xīhóngshì chǎo jīdàn (西红柿炒鸡蛋)--aka Tomatoes and Eggs!
Rocking Metal Rat Image: by UCLA Confucius Institute staff member, Amelia Sargent
鼠年快乐 (zhū nián kuàilè) Happy Year of the Rat
恭喜发财 (gōngxǐ fācái) Congratulations and Prosperity!