And since about a quarter of the Earth's population is living in China (1.3 billion strong!) their opinion has to count for something. Maybe a lot. And it means more each and every year.
In any case this is the year of the rabbit. The branch is 卯 Mǎo. Whatever the hell that means. According to Wiki there's no apt English translation. At least I know what a rabbit is. :-)
I work with several Chinese people and I received two New Year presents which are pictured here. I've had some types of mochi before and it's okay---the hot shredded radish worries me though. I'll try it---but I suspect it'll not like me.
恭喜发财 : Often mistakenly assumed to be synonymous with "Happy New Year", the usage of this phrase dates back several centuries. The first two words of this phrase have a long historical significance.
Legend has it that the congratulatory messages were traded for surviving the ravaging beast of Nian, although in practical terms it may also involve surviving the harsh winter conditions. Nian being a dragon-like critter.
Clothing mainly featuring the colour red or bright colours is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it was once believed that red could scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year. Wearing new clothes also symbolizes having more than enough things to use and wear in the new year.
In that tradition, I bought some new clothes at Wal-mart yesterday evening after hiking around Oconeechee Mountain. A lot of the Winter clothing is 50% off at Wally World so I got some "nice" stuff really cheap. So, happy new year!