Chinese New Year 2013

Harrow Asian Deaf Club celebrated their New Year event with a difference by hosting a joint event of Happy New Year and Chinese New Year 2013 which took place on Saturday 5th January 2013. Our HADC Patrons John Purnell, Deputy Lieutenant of Harrow and his wife, Margaret Purnell joined us for the celebration and to learn more about Chinese New Year.

For the festive occasion of Chinese New Year, our committee members and volunteers wore colourful attires of Chinese silk and Samir Gathani, Chairperson gave a presentation to our members explaining the custom and culture of Chinese community and how Chinese New Year are celebrated.

The Chinese New Year 2012 is the year of the Snake, which will take place on 10th February 2013. Every society/ communities have their own annual festivities based on old tradition/ history with stories and tales that are passed onto from generation to generation. According to the Chinese tale, many years ago there was a little village that, on every lunar New Year’s Eve, would be terrorized by a dragon called Nian– which translates to “Year.”

However, one year the villagers found that if they covered their village with red decorations, wearing red clothes and fired-off fire crackers in order to create loud noises, the dragon Nian would not terrorize/ scare the village. That is why, Chinese community prefers the colour red as red keeps them safe and bring lots of luck.

Chinese New Year occurs at the start of each and every lunar calendar year. But this translates to a different time with regards to the Gregorian calendar that much of the world uses. Chinese New Year usually takes place within the first couple of months of the Gregorian calendar, though. In 2011, the year of the Rabbit, Chinese New Year took place at the beginning of February and in 2012, the year of Dragon took place on 23rd January 2012. However, this year (2013), the year of the Snake, Chinese New Year began on 10th February 2013, and lasted fifteen days.

To celebrate Chinese New Year and the arrival of spring, the Chinese host big family gatherings, partake in traditional feasts featuring foods meant to bring good luck in the New Year, exchange gifts and participate in traditional folk celebrations with singing and dancing.  These joyous festivities last 15 days, culminating in the Festival of the Lanterns.

At HADC, we have hung up couplets on the door, typically for luck and happiness. We also had Chinese Lanterns and provided children activities of colouring, paper cuts and making Chinese decoration. Those are fun way for children to be involved in decorating.

The New Year’s Eve Feast is one of the most carefully orchestrated events during Chinese New Year.  On New Year’s Eve, family gathers to honour ancestors and to share an elaborate feast of typically either eight or nine different dishes.  Both of these numbers are considered to be lucky numbers and each dish has symbolic meaning. Everyone at HADC enjoyed delicious a variety of Chinese dishes including Dumplings (jiaozi, which symbolize prosperity and wealth); spring rolls; long noodles (which promote long life); egg rice; mixed vegetable; and fish dish (which symbolizes happiness and prosperity).

The evening rounded off with a fantastic colorful firework display outside the Centre and ended with the cutting of a ‘Happy New Year Celebration’ Cake and a speech from HADC President Asif Iqbal, giving a summary of the success that HADC achieved in 2012 and look forward to more exciting events for all in 2013.