It is the time of the year when red lanterns are put up on the streets, bringing a positive and cheerful vibe to everyone. It’s the time when ang paos are exchanged and dumplings and spring rolls and other mouth-watering dishes rule the dining table. It is also the time to celebrate one of the grandest and most colourful events not just in China, but around the globe. Chinese New Year is now here, and Cambodia is not letting this festivity pass by without the feasting and revelry, and of course the fireworks and dragon dances.
Over the decades, the celebration of Chinese New Year has grown bigger and fancier in Cambodia. Even Prime Minister Hun Sen once posted on Facebook that the number of people celebrating Chinese New Year in the country has continuously increased, crediting the country’s acceptance and recognition of different religious beliefs and traditions.
It is quite evident how Cambodia’s open and welcoming stance to foreign cultures has attracted many Chinese nationalities and investors into the country. And there is just undeniable beauty to how Khmers and Chinese have lived harmoniously through the years.
Thousands of red lanterns, locally called kom, have been displayed on stores on the sidewalks and big markets in the capital since January. Myriads of lucky charms are also neatly arranged in shops, attracting many Khmers to buy some for themselves and shoo bad luck and negative spirits away.
Lion dances have also become a lively sight for many Khmers as dancers mimic a lion’s movement synchronised to the beating of drums, gongs and cymbals.
This year’s celebration, which falls this Saturday, marks the beginning of the Year of the Dog.
The Dog is the eleventh of all zodiac animals, and according to Chinese superstition, the animal symbolises luck.
The zodiac animals work in a 12-year cycle with its history rooting from a story of the Jade Emperor who ordered that animals would become part of the calendar. Each animal has meanings significant to ancient and modern Chinese population.
To be specific, 2018 is the Year of the Earth Dog and will last until next year’s Lunar New Year which falls on February 4th.
This year is seen to be a year of big social changes. According to one Feng Shui website, the world will see changes in people’s views on diet, smoking, drinking as new related laws are foreseen to be passed and implemented.
Those who were born in the last Year of the Earth Dog (1958) will be enjoying a fruitful year as life plans and investment will start to pay off especially if these people have led fair and honest lives.
Based on Chinese astrology, the Year of the Earth Dog will mark a powerful moment for both men and women. Strength of character, education, health, morality will be questioned and evaluated to bring in more improvements to people’s lives. Poets, authors and philosophers are also believed to make this year the best time to empower awareness and creativity.
In order to gain true joy and fulfillment throughout the Year of the Earth Dog, people are urged to show solidarity to achieve material and spiritual wealth.
The Chinese astrology and horoscope are based on historical and traditional references made by the ancient Chinese. These have existed for hundreds of years and people use them as guidance for life, relationships, businesses and all the aspects of daily living that affect them wholly.
And as hundreds of millions of people grandiosely celebrate Chinese New Year every year, it is apparent how much the Chinese traditions have influenced the world. The celebrations are seen to get bigger and brighter in the years to come. Why not? A majestic festivity of good fortune and prosperity is always worth celebrating. Enjoy yours! Gong Xi Fa Cai!