1 Goodbye Rat. Hello Bull.
Gong Hei Fatt Choi . It’s the Cantonese greeting for Chinese New Year. I can’t pronounce Mandarin, nor, for that matter, almost any language that isn’t developed from Greco-Latin. And I can’t pronounce Greek or Latin, either.
As a greeting, it is more often interpreted than translated. It is widely taken as the equivalent of ″I wish you a happy and prosperous year to come.″
After the Rat year, I don’t know anyone that isn’t looking forward to the Bull kicking the Rat out of its house.
That starts tonight, when across the world Chinese families meet for the ″Reunion Dinner.″
But not this year. Travel bans, lockdowns or, at least, restrictions on the location and size of family gatherings means that, as has happened with every religious and social festival for the past year, celebrations will be at best muted and at worst absent. For many families, it is likely that their last chance to see elderly relatives will have been cruelly taken away from them, just as it has from so many thousands over the past year.
But the Year of the Bull, also known as Ox and Metal Ox, is supposed to be very different from the Rat. Calmer, more plodding, benign but strong, taking a longer-term view but always making positive progress. Less destructive.