Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gung Hei Faat Coi

Congratulations and be Prosperous! This is the traditional Cantonese greeting during Chinese New Year, which begins tomorrow. This is the year of the Ox (which works very well with Warcraft and its walking cows called Taurens). As I am sure you know, WoW celebrates this time of year with the two week long celebration of the Lunar Festival.

Gung Hei Faat CoiWhile this is has nothing to do with guild leadership, Chinese New Year is a special holiday in my house. What other Chinese New Year traditions can you find in the Lunar Festival? Glad you asked. Here are a few of the things you can find that mirror the real holiday:

Lunar Festival - The festival itself is obviously Chinese New Year, but why is it called the Lunar Festival? Well the Chinese calendar is based off the lunar cycle, as opposed to our traditional Gregorian calendar which is a solar cycle calendar.

Lai See - Those red bags you received in bulk from all those Elders you went to to get your title. those are Lai See. Traditionally they are passed out to kids (or more specifically unmarried children) and normally have $ in them. A note: Odd numbers and the number 4 are considered unlucky when pertaining to these bags.

Fireworks - Yes, Im sure you knew this one already. Fireworks are a very loud part of any real new years celebration.

The color Red - Red is believed to scare away bad spirit and fortune, that is why you see it in everything related to Chinese New Year.

Lanterns - You see these all over the capital citys in Azeroth and you even get one for your own during the festival. Traditional red, oval lanterns are used during the Lantern Festival which marks the last day of the Chinese New year festivities. This year that date is February 9th, 15 days from the first day. Azeroth has it's own Lantern Festival in Moonglade, however it will be held on February 12th (the last day of the Lunar Festival).

Dumplings - You can buy dumplings from the Lunar Festival vendors. Dumplings are a traditional food during Chinese New Year because they resemble the shape of the leung, which is a currency used as recently as the 1600's. Eating these are thought to bring wealth.

Honoring the Elders - A lot of Chinese New Year is about honoring your elder's. In China during this period migrant workers in China come home to visit their families, some of who haven't seen each other since the previous New Year Celebrations. During the whole period of Chinese New Years visiting family and honoring elders by visiting their graves and offering prayers to their spirits.

Omen - While the name is purely Azerothian, Omen is actually the representation of the mystical beast Nian. Nian, which means year, comes out at the beginning of each year and devours livestock, crops, and especially children. He lives under the sea and is sensitive to loud noises (Interestingly enough he became the mount to his initial defeater in lore, too bad there is no Omen mount).

If you are looking for more information on Chinese New Year start on Wikipedia. If you are looking for more information on the Lunar Festival try WoW Wiki. And my good friend Kathoid over at the Druid Kitty blog has promised to help you out with that Elder title.

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