The stores are decorated; the city has embarked on an ambitious and colorful display welcoming the year of the rabbit. Hey, I’m getting into the Christmas Spirit and there’s only 11 months to go.
Another custom is that on the first day of the new year, people greet each other with the phrase, “Gong shi” or in English, “congratulations,” congratulating them on surviving the previous year. My wife and I had a wonderful time greeting our neighbors with congratulations last year, because they seemed so surprised that we would know that bit of cultural information.
This year Chinese New Year is on February 3. This is January 1, 4708 on the Lunar Calendar. Most of Taiwan’s Holidays and important days are celebrated on the lunar calendar. I asked a friend what day his birthday was and he answered, “On the Lunar Calendar or this year.” That has never been a complicated question for me, but I work with only one calendar. This year, in the Republic of China, is year 100. It is the centennial year of the Republic of China. 100 years since the Wuchang Uprising (See this blog, Taiwanese History: Double Tenth Day; October 21, 2010). This is interesting because all official government dates use this as the date. So really, in Taiwan there are three different calendars that are used. It can be a bit intimidating to ask a question like, “What’s the date?”
|Artistic picture from the back of the scooter|
Anyway, from the Taiwan Adventure Blog, happy Chinese New Year, If I see you after February 3rd I hope to be able to say , “gongshi,” if the monster get you, well then, it’s been good to know you.
All Photos, except Rainie Yang, by Elizabeth Banducci
Ranie Yang, Sony/BMG (No copyright infringement intended)
Other posts you may be interested in:
An American Presence: What I Don't Miss in Taiwan
Taiwanese Traditions: They Don't Include Christmas