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Happy Chinese New Year

chinese new year.jpg
Lanterns in Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia

by James Dacey

Last Monday was dubbed Blue Monday after “official” calculations deemed it to be the most depressing day of the year. Thankfully, this Monday, things are a lot more celebratory; the colour red takes centre stage as more than a billion people across the globe celebrate Chinese New Year.

Physics World would like to extend you all a warm welcome to the year of the Ox!

It struck me today that this year’s celebrations have fallen especially close to the Gregorian New Year. In my ignorance I’ve only just realised that the date changes each year – but how and why?

Well, if you were as in the dark as I was, check out this short video by Xinhua, a Chinese Government news agency. It gives a nice overview of key dates in the Chinese New Year Calendar.

And this year’s festivities seem to be in full flow already. According to Xinhua, Beijing last night was covered in 68 tonnes of firework debris.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday sent a message in Chinese, which read: “Happy New Year to the Chinese people and all the ethnic Chinese all over the world.”

One more slightly interesting fact for you: 2009 is the year of the Ox — the “brave leader” — and famous “oxen” include Barack Obama…

… but I’ll leave it there because this is rapidly slipping away from physics!

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One comment to Happy Chinese New Year

  1. Alex

    I wonder if Ban Ki-moon is blissfully unaware that it also New Year in Korea, called Seollal. In case Ban Ki-moon doesn’t realise Koreans are not ethnic Chinese.


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