|Traditional Chinese New Year Greetings|
|(NIU Qingbao Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica)|
January 28, 2017 is a special day. It is the first day in the first month of the Year of the Rooster in traditional Chinese zodiac. On this joyous occasion of the Chinese New Year, I have the great pleasure of extending, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Jamaica, the most cordial greetings and best wishes to the Chinese community in Jamaica and Jamaican friends of China for happiness and prosperity.
According to the lunar calendar which Chinese follow for farming purposes, the first day in the year is also called the Spring Festival and is regarded as the most important festival, which lasts for a week in cities and 15 days in the countryside.
This is a time for celebration. After a year of hard work, now is finally time for relaxation. People start planning a week in advance, buying new clothes, cleaning and decorating their house with red lanterns and Spring Festival couplets (auspicious words written on red papers and pasted on their door panels), and preparing festival food. No one works. All celebrate and enjoy. Heaps of fireworks are lit and tons of foods and drinks are consumed.
This is a time for family union. Chinese value family togetherness. Even though they may have to work far away from home, Spring Festival is a time when all families get together to enjoy family time. Young people pay respect to their parents and grandparents while the elderly inquire about their children's work and life.
This is a time for huge "migration". It is estimated that during this Spring Festival season, just short of 1 billion Chinese will be on the move. Transportation is the busiest of all year round, first carrying people from work to their homes before the Spring Festival and then moving them back to work. Fortunately, mass public transportation is made possible by bullet trains which are fast (between 250-350 kilometers per hour), smooth (some random foreigner pasted a video clip of him placing a coin on its edge on a moving bullet train and the coin stands) and expansive (a total mileage of 21000 km or 60% of world total and expanding).
This is also a time for planning. People also make New Year wishes. Urban dwellers wish for success in their career. Farmers wish for a bumper harvest. Parents wishes health for themselves and success for their children. All people, without exception, wish for a more peaceful world, a more prosperous China and a happy and healthy personal life.
My New Year wishes, apart from all the above, includes a stronger China-Jamaica partnership. 2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between China and Jamaica. I wish to see the local Chinese community make greater contribution to Jamaica which they call home and enjoy peace, prosperity and friendship. I wish to see higher volumes of two-way trade, closer economic cooperation, and more importantly, more cultural and people-to-people exchanges. I firmly believe that, with concerted efforts from both sides and friends from all walks of life, my New Year wishes are sure to be realized.
Happy Chinese New Year!