Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Year of the Ox Starts 26 January!


(The US Postal Service has issued a Year of the Ox postal stamp, above)

To our great surprise, there are several very good Chinese restaurants in Kuwait – if you don’t think so, check out the number of Chinese people eating in a place, and eat what they eat. Several Chinese restaurants in Kuwait even have honest-to-God Chinese cooks!

Chinese New Year’s is a great excuse for a party, and wearing your favorite red dress. 🙂 It’s almost here – January 26th.

Chinese New Year
The Year of the Ox
by Holly Hartman

from InfoPlease website on Chinese New Year

4707 (or 2009) is the year of the ox

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

An Obstinate Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Walt Disney, and Anthony Hopkins were all born in the year of the ox.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.
The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

We heard in church a couple weeks ago that the Chinese labor force is the fastest growing segment of the expat labor force in Kuwait, did you know that? The come in, they focus, they work hard, they produce what they have promised and then – they go back to China. They bid competitively on the contracts, they speak English fairly well, and they get the job done, with none of this human rights baggage that many of the Western countries carry around. Nope. No problem, says the Chinese embassy.

January 17, 2009 - Posted by | Community, Cultural, Eating Out, Events, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Holiday, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Relationships, Social Issues | ,


  1. happy New Year! I’m year of the dragon 🙂

    “none of this human rights baggage” – loool. its a meeting of the minds, in a way.

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | January 17, 2009

  2. It’s a great match, Little Diamond. I’ve always thought the dragon sign was pretty cool> 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 17, 2009

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