Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chinese New Year starts on February 14, 2010

We're two weeks away from scaring off bad spirits and wishing for a fruitful harvest. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, I speak of Lunar New Year, often just called Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year follows the ancient lunar calendar and was originally tied to harvest times in an agrarian society. As with many things Chinese (my parents are Chinese, so I can talk this way), tradition and custom and symbolism all got intertwined, so much so that many people who celebrate the Lunar New Year have no idea what it's really about.

For many contemporary Chinese and people of Chinese extract, the Lunar New Year is a time to wish people well. This wishing often takes the very tangible form of giving people money as a gift. Specifically, older people give younger people money in red envelopes (red packets, known in Mandarin as "hong bao"). The red envelope is packed with symbolism in Chinese culture. Well, actually it's packed with cash, but you get it. is a web site for making the giving of money as a gift fun, personal, and secure. So we thought, Let's offer a Chinese New Year version of Lottay!

Gong xi fa cai! Gong hay fat choy!

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