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Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

The Lunar New Year started on Feb 3 and lasts about 2 weeks.  This is the time that Asian families across the world gather to celebrate family and good fortune.  This year is the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Rabbit or The Year of the Cat in Vietnam.  The Rabbit or Hare is the 4th animal in the 12-year cycle.

Happy New Year wishes are expressed as:  “gung hau fat choy” (Cantonese) or “gong xi fa cai” (Mandarin) which generally means “Congratulations, may you be prosperous”

The Year of the Rabbit is expected to be a placid year and very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger.

Here’s the prediction from the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco: Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

If you have manufacturing sites in China, you should expect delays in shipping as most of the factory workers return home for the long holiday.  During Chinese New Year, there may be no one left in the factory to answer the phone or check email. 

Be vigilant in checking the quality of products made just before and just after the New Year.  Before the start of the holiday, factories rush to complete all orders and ship everything possible.  Quality may be overlooked in anticipation of the holiday.  Just after the New Year, a significant number of new migrant workers (30% to 40%) start jobs or change jobs in factory towns and there may be a significant learning curve, causing quality deterioration.

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Today is 09-09-09, an auspicious number in China. 

Odd numbers in ancient China were considered masculine and since 9 is the highest single-digit odd number, it was interpreted to mean the “ultimate masculine” or supreme sovereignty of the Imperial Emperor.   Chinese Emperors embraced the number 9 and had their robes embroidered with nine five-toed dragons (the symbol of the Emperor).  The number 9 is thought to represent long life.  Even the Forbidden City in Beijing is believed to have been designed and originally built with 9,999 rooms.  Nine rows of nine studs are commonly found on the palace gates.  Even the four corner towers of the Forbidden City Palace have 9 beams and two sets of 9 columns.

The Temple of Heaven, also in Beijing, is built with the altar in three tiers and multiples of 9 slabs on each tier.  This is the place where Emperors came to worship.

The Emperor’s New Year’s Dinner and birthday dinner were comprised of 99 dishes for long life and good luck.

Both 6 and 8 are also considered lucky numbers because their Chinese names sound similar to words with positive meanings.  The word for 6 “liu” sounds like the word for happiness and the word for 8 “ba” sounds like the word for wealth.  As you may recall, the Chinese kicked off the 2008 Summer Olympics on 08/08/08. 

People may pay extra for lucky numbers in their street address, building floor, bank account or cell phone.  Last time I was in China, a few people noticed that my cell phone number has three 8’s and two 6’s.

Forbidden City, Beijing

Forbidden City, Beijing

photo courtesy of Tex Texin

photo courtesy of Tex Texin

Chinese (Lunar) New Year is always a huge event in the San Francisco Bay Area.  But this year is different… The predictions for this 2009 Year of the Ox are pretty grim for the world economy.  Here in Silicon Valley, as well as across America and around the world, we are seeing the ravaging effects of a global recession.  Those of us who have lived through recessions before know this will eventually pass, but recognize there will be a lot of suffering in the meantime.

 

The Ox, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, symbolizes calm, hard work, resolve and tenacity. Hard work and tenacity is exactly what it will take during the next 12-18 months before we start to see improvement.  These are scary times, indeed.

So those of us with skills, ideas, optimism and desire must double down and get to work on whatever it is that we do best.  Eventually, we will work our way out of the recession and return to prosperity.  The Ox is here to remind us of this, all year long.