Random thoughts

An uncommitted blog on just about anything

Random thoughts header image 2

Happy niu year!

January 25th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Today is the first day of the year of the ox! [aetag p 1 “This is a short pause”/] Happy chinese new year to everyone!

[aetag fga href=”https://cors-anywhere.herokuapp.com/https://soundbible.com/grab.php?id=1143&type=mp3″ pb=0.5 pa=1 t=”Cow And Bell” at=”Source: http://soundbible.com/1143-Cow-And-Bell.html, License: Public Domain”][A cow mooing][/aetag]

The spelling in the subject of this post seems to be very popular this year. [aetag voice m1/] The spelling “niu” is the mandarin pinyin romanization of the chinese character 牛 (“[aetag tag=”sub” value=”niu”]niu2[/aetag]”), which means “ox / cow / bull” in chinese. Since it’s pronounced a bit like the word “new”, it offers this funny double meaning of “happy new year” + “happy ox year” combined in one short sentence. Now, the chinese astrology cycles want that ox years repeat every 12 years, so I would be surprised if it was the first time this spelling is being used. If it is, that could signal an increased interest and popularity of chinese traditions among non-chinese speaking communities. Who knows, maybe 12 years ago it would have been much harder to hear anyone express his chinese new year wishes in any indo-european language.

For the dinner of my 除夕(chu2 xi1, new year’s eve), last night I chose to avoid chinese restaurants, and opted for a steak instead, without realizing I was going to eat 20oz of the animal of the year! I wonder if there’s any superstitious caveat around that… I paid a lot of attention in keeping last year’s animal of the year out of my diet, but I might not want to be so careful this year.

[aetag ignore]Anyway, if you’re interested in learning about the chinese traditions around the lunar new year, the ChineseSession.com blog has done a good job at capturing them. [/aetag]I’m not sure why they list the pinyin for 除夕 as “chu2 xi4”, maybe it’s just a typo, but as far as I know the correct pronunciation is “chu2 xi1”. It would also be interesting to find out if the alternative word 大年夜 (da4 nian2 ye4) is solely used in Taiwan, I couldn’t find any reference on the web. And by the way, you might know that I really dislike the “western” stereotype (I will write more about it in a future post), but nonetheless, don’t miss the second half of their post too.

Tags: Uncategorized

3 responses so far ↓