Today is the first day of the 2015 Chinese New Year. This year the confusion of lunar and solar movements is combined with the ambiguities of the Chinese language and gives insight into the language and the challenges of international communication.
The Chinese character yang refers to all animals in the Caprinae subfamily that includes goats and sheep (rams and ewes). For Chinese there is no confusion, however for languages such as English that have gone for more a specific classification there is.
This year also brought economic confusion. The date is in February instead of January. This means the associated spending on gifts and travel moved from January to February creating havoc for Chinese economic analysts trying to compare years.
As more Chinese migrate their foreign populations have grown spreading Chinese culture around the globe. Switzerland’s Chinese population is small. In 2013 there were 16,300 Chinese residents, 0.2% of the population, up from 2000 when there were 6,440.
For many however the celebration has as much to do with being part of a global community as celebrating Chinese culture. It has become a symbol of globalisation.
The International School of Lausanne combines Chinese New Year celebrations with an International Day. This year their primary students created a Chinese dragon with fabric brought from the students’ home countries. The fabric symbolizes the more than 50 nationalities at the school.
Finally, few things are more important to Chinese New Year gatherings than food. If you are planning a celebration and are looking for reasonably priced authentic Chinese dining Chez Xu in Lausanne is hard to beat.
Happy Chinese New Year from the Le News team.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!