Kung Hei Fat Choi, it's Chinese New Year
Let's start this post with a disclaimer. I'm not Chinese. I'm Filipino. But, I did grow up in Hong Kong and Chinese New Year was an important part of my childhood. Now that I'm in London and the new zodiac year is fast approaching, I've been feeling pretty homesick.
(Can somebody hook a girl up with some nin gou please?)
Anyways, for those of y’all who aren’t up to speed on what it is we do to celebrate CNY, here’s a little primer with a little Chinese New Year outfit I threw together.
Chinese New Year 2018
So let’s go back to the beginning. Buddha held a sick race between all the Zodiac animals to determine the order of the lunar cycle. Twelve animals - a rat, ox, tiger, monkey, pig, dragon, horse, dog, rooster, etc - all faced off and the rat won by hitching a ride on the ox’s back as it swam across the river, then jumped off and scampered across the line. And that was my childhood introduction to the grim reality that life just isn’t fair.
From then on and starting with the rat, twelve year Zodiac cycles began and every full moon in February a new Zodiac animal year would start. And if you were born in a certain year, then you were blessed by your corresponding animal.
When is Chinese New Year 2018?
It's currently year of the rooster (my year!), but come February 16 it's going to be year of the dog. Side note: my dad is year of the dog and I cried because I was so jealous when I was younger.
Chinese New Year Animals
Not sure what your Zodiac animal is? Here's a breakdown of the years below:
1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014 2026 2038
1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015 2027 2039
1920 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016 2028
1921 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017 2029
1922 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018 2030
1923 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019 2031
1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008 2020 2032
1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009 2021 2033
1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010 2022 2034
1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011 2023 2035
1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012 2024 2036
1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013 2025 2037
Chinese New Year Traditions
Eat dumplings and nin gou, a sticky rice cake that's supposed to bring good fortune.
Exchange lai see, bright red packets full of money to share the wealth. Married couples usually give them to the single people and children, so CNY was like Christmas 2.0 growing up when you suddenly had a huge bump in pocket money.
Clean your house like crazy. Hang up decorations - you'll tend to see a fook (a Chinese character that means happiness or luck) sign hung upside down on doors, so that the luck drains through to everyone in the household.
Buy new clothes - red and gold are really popular colours as they're symbols of fortune and prosperity.
Light firecrackers to scare all the evil spirits out of the vicinity, as well as every poor dog in the area.
FIREWORKS. Nobody does them better than Asia.
If it’s your Zodiac animal year, steel yourself for some pretty crappy luck. After a tough year of the rooster, I am so here for the dog.
Lo Wu Shopping Estate, Shenzhen
Kimomo Embroidered Jeans, £8, Monki
(Bless those winter sales.)
Faux fur coat, gift from Mama Hills
Kyoto Gardens Loafers, £140, Ted Baker*
Yellow Sunglasses, Mango
Gold Plated Earrings, £8.99, Pilgrim*
*These were kind gifts from the brands, thank you so much!
Fun fact: the top I'm wearing is actually a dress that I wore for a graduation ball back from my bright-eyed days at the University of Warwick. See exhibit A on my right. It's been in my closet ever since because I still adore it.
I've never been much of a jeans person because it's hard finding ones that'll fit my thighs and waist properly. That said, I now swear by Monki's Kimomo jeans because they are perfect and adorable. Also, I managed to snag these for £8 in their winter sale.
Shop the look below
(or at least, similar styles)
*Links with an asterisk are affiliate links, which means ya girl gets a tiny cut if you buy through them.
Huge shout out to Kaye Ford of Fordtography for taking these photographs! Lots of love to her and her talent x