The Chinese New Year is the biggest festive celebration of the year for the Chinese in Hong Kong and indeed all over the world. The actual date for the festival varies each year and this time round the Chinese New Year starts from 31st January.
Apart from being a time for family togetherness, the Chinese New Year signifies the arrival of spring. Large-scale festivities, firework displays, and traditional dance parades follow the Chinese New Year as part of the popular Spring Lantern Festival.
In many ways, such as the tradition of gifting, the celebrations of the Chinese New Year are similar to other global festivals such as Christmas. However, there are some unique aspects of the Chinese New Year, in particular the change in the Chinese New Year zodiac sign, and the Chinese New Year gifting customs.
Origins of the Chinese Zodiac Signs
The start of each New Year as per the lunar calendar also marks the beginning of an auspicious period for one of the twelve Chinese animal zodiac signs. Each sign occurs once every 12 years in the following order – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each zodiac sign represents certain personality traits, often derived from the quality of the animal itself.
While most people have heard and read about these Chinese zodiac signs, few understand the origins. One legend has it that Buddha summoned all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve animals came and he named one year after each animal in order of their arrival. Another story points to a race organised by Gods to determine the superiority of each animal and the order of the winners of the race determined the sequence of the Chinese zodiac signs.
Scholars believe that the origin of the Chinese zodiac predates Buddhism, and that the zodiac signs have evolved from ancient Chinese astronomy.
The Year of the Horse – 2014
The symbolism of the Chinese New Year zodiac signs is deeply entrenched in Chinese culture even today. Millions of Chinese make important life decisions (such as health, career, and even marriage) according to their zodiac.
The 2014 Chinese New Year (from 31st January to February 18th 2015) will be the year of the horse. Chinese horoscope for 2014 for ‘the Horse people’ predicts that it will be a good year for new business ventures, but they need to tread carefully in matters of the heart and health.
Chinese New Year Gifting Customs
Gifting friends, colleagues, and business associates during the Chinese New Year symbolises an extension of best wishes for the year ahead.
As the New Year is the most celebrated occasion in the Chinese calendar, it is important to remember basic Chinese gifting customs. For instance –
- Young children are usually gifted money in elaborately decorated red envelopes by elders in the family. The money is always crisp, and coins should be avoided. Gifting money in even numbers, except four, is regarded as auspicious.
- New Year gifts may be wrapped in red, pink, yellow, and gold. Colours to avoid are black, blue, and white.
- For business gifting, the same gift should not be given to people at different ranks in the organization. Higher the seniority of the recipient, greater should be the value of the gift. When gifting a group ensure that you gift every individual. If you wish to only gift a single individual, then do so in private.
Gift Hamper – The Versatile Chinese New Year Gift
Food is an integral part of the New Year festivities and everyone appreciates a Chinese New Year food gift hamper containing alcohol, tea, chocolates, fruits, and Chinese food delicacies.
Gift Hamper Hong Kong has designed more than twenty unique Chinese New Year Gift Hampers, with each gift hamper combining both the traditional and modern aspects of Chinese New Year celebrations. For instance the CNY Treats Hamper contains traditional Chinese delights, HK JEBN shiitake mushroom (a dish), HKJEBN XO sauce, and On Kee abalone sauce, as well as Australian Organic Times dark chocolate coffee beans and licorice and English Hampstead Tea London organic earl grey tea.
A gift hamper is also a great idea for corporate gifting. The Successful CNY hampercontaining G.H. Mumm Champagne, Australia Pariya sun-dried strawberries, American Dean & Deluca gummi bears and dark chocolate hazelnuts, German ViVANI organic cappuccino chocolate bar, Australian James Road honey biscuits and French Gavottes Chocolate biscuits, is an ideal gift for a business associate with international tastes.
What’s more, you can easily match the gift hamper to the preferences of the gift recipient. The Classic Fruit Hamper containing the seasonal fruits such as apples, kiwis, oranges, plums, grapes and blueberries is ideal for the health conscious. On the other hand the Deluxe Surprise Hamper containing French Maison Fossier hazelnut rochers, English Simpkins blackcurrant travel sweets, Grand Belgian Assorted Truffles and English gluten free chocolate chip biscuits, among other marvellous chocolate delights, is the perfect gift for someone with a sweet tooth.
This year surprise someone you love with one of our exclusive Chinese New Year gift hampers. Express gratitude and best wishes to friends and colleagues by sending them a gift hamper that is just right for them. Place an order within minutes through our website.
We are more than happy to undertake bulk corporate gifting requirements. You can either call us on 2730 0885/ 2730 0839 or drop us an email at [email protected].
We are open for business all days of the week and offer free delivery to most addresses in the Hong Kong metropolitan. Visit our CNY gift hamper section to view the entire range of Chinese New Year gift hampers.