Travel trivia: Lunar New Year!

Travel trivia: Lunar New Year!

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Gong Xi Fa Cai, Kung Hei Fat Choi!, Chúc Mừng Năm Mới, Losar La Tashi Delek, Saehae Bog Manh-I Badeuseyo… No matter how you say it, if you’re one of the many people celebrating the Lunar New Year this week, we wish you a year of luck, happiness, and good fortune!

Chinese New Year lanterns in Beijing

  1. Lunar New Year celebrations don’t just take place in China. There are also celebrations beginning on February 8 throughout other Asian countries. Where are Tết, Seollal, and Losar celebrated?
  2. One of the biggest traditions associated with Chinese New Year is the giving of hong bao (red envelopes). What are these envelopes filled with?
  3. True or false? Those born in the year of the Monkey are known for their intelligence and charm.
  4. According to Chinese New Year tradition, you should never wash your hair on the first day of the lunar year. Why?
  5. The oldest Chinatown is in what city?
  6. Kung Hei Fat Choi (and similar variations) doesn’t translate to “Happy New Year” in English. What does it actually mean?
  7. Firecrackers are a huge part of Chinese New Year celebrations, with a long history and some mythology. What’s the story behind setting them off?
  8. What’s the luckiest number in Chinese culture?

Chinese temple

Answers

  1. Tết marks the lunar new year in Vietnam, Seollal happens in Korea, and Losar is the Tibetan celebration.
  2. Hong bao are small, red envelopes that are typically filled with money and given to children and unmarried relatives as a symbol of prosperity and good luck.
  3. True! Monkeys are considered to be very smart and quick-witted, as well as charming, lively, and mischievous.
  4. Washing your hair is said to also wash away your fortune, since the Chinese word for “hair” has the same pronunciation as the phrase “to become wealthy.”
  5. Manila, Philippines, is home to the world’s oldest Chinatown, dating back to the 1590s.
  6. Kung Hei Fat Choi (also Gung Hei Fat Choi or Gong Hei Fat Choy or Gong Xi Fa Cai) loosely translates to “congratulations and be prosperous.”
  7. Legend has it that a mythical monster named Nian would come out of hiding every spring to terrorise and prey on villagers. To ward off the monster, locals make loud noises by banging drums and setting off firecrackers.
  8. The unluckiest number is 4, but if you double it, you have the luckiest number: 8! It’s considered a symbol of prosperity and success, as the pronunciation is similar to the word fa, which means to make a fortune.

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