According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2010 is the Golden Year of the Tiger.
It begins today February 14th.
It ends February 2nd 2011.
The Tiger is the third of twelve signs in the cycle of the zodiac and its supposed to ward off the three main threats to a household: fire, thieves and ghosts.
Its important to spend the holiday happy, smiling and refrain from scowling or criticising anyone.
Chinese (or Lunar) New Year marks the biggest mass movement of people on earth as many Chinese return to their home town to gather with family, eat,drink and be merry.
Its an important family event.
I guess the closest Americans have is Thanksgiving.
Red envelopes containing money are traditionally given to children and unmarried adults, though in practice its common to give them to everyone from friends to the doorman at your apartment building.
Cash should be in new bills and its important that the amount be an even number.
Certain numbers (such as 4) are bad luck so the total amount should not add up to an unlucky number. "Four" is a homonym for "death" so a red envelope should never contain $ 4, $40 or $400 (HK$!)
Children often greet relatives with "Gong xi fa cai hong bao na lai"
This roughly translates as "Happy New Year, now give me a red envelope"
Evil spirits are frightened by loud noise so the new Year is usually a loud celebration and long strings of firecrackers are set off throughout the holiday.
Singapore, and Malaysia have implemented strict controls but Taiwan and the mainland allow almost unrestricted use of fireworks.
I think HK has some curbs but can't really say with certainty.
Its a misty, rainy New Year's day in Hong Kong.
I got back late (ish) last night from Australia and I have all day off!
Tuesday I head to Singapore for 24 hours and then back here for a week or so.
Stay well everyone