Gong Xi Fa Cai

On 22 January the Chinese year of the Rabbit started. People wish each other Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) or Gung hay fat choy (Cantonese). Meaning Congratulations get rich.

Here is our CNY wish for all of you..

About the Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac has twelve signs (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig) and five elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water).The signs repeat in a 12-year cycle, the elements in a 10-year cycle (an element takes two years, one yin and one yang). The combination of signs and elements gives a 60-year cycle. On your 60th birthday you start all over again, that’s why this birthday has a special significance. I celebrated mine in Taiping, on Maxwell Hill, click here for a report

Here is the Zodiac wheel , including the elements, for one 60-year cycle, from 1984 until 2043. Use your birthyear to find your sign and your element. If you were born before 1984, add 60 to your birthyear and use the same wheel. For example, I was born in 1944. I add 60 to my birthyear, 2004 and see in the wheel that I am a Wood Monkey.

The date of CNY is variable (see below). can be between 21 January and 20 February., When you are born in that period, you need to know the CNY date in your birthyear. Here is a list of CNY dates between 1930 and 2030.

2023 is a leap year

The Chinese calendar is based on lunar months. An average lunar month (time between a new or full moon and the next new/full moon) is ~ 29 d 12 h 44 min, therefore a lunar year of 12 lunar months is about 11 days shorter than a solar year. Without correction the Chinese New Year would advance about 11 days each year. To keep in sync with the solar year, on average every two/three years one of the months is duplicated, a leap month. Compare it with the leap day (29 February) that is inserted in the Gregorian calendar basically every 4 year.

CNY this year was on 22 January. Next year it would be 11 or 12 January. But this year has an extra month, so next year , CNY will be actually on 10 February.

Here is a list of CNY dates, with the leap years marked in yellow. Also I have marked which month is duplicated. In this year 2023, the 2nd month is duplicated.

2016Feb. 8, 2016 (Monday)Monkey
2017Jan. 28, 2017 (Friday)leap month 6Rooster
2018Feb. 16, 2018 (Friday)Dog
2019Feb. 5, 2019 (Tuesday)Pig
2020Jan. 25, 2020 (Saturday)leap month 4Rat
2021Feb. 12, 2021 (Friday)Tiger
2023Jan. 22, 2023 (Sunday)leap month 2Rabbit
2024Feb. 10, 2024 (Saturday)Dragon
2025Jan. 29, 2025 (Wednesday)leap month 6Snake
2026Feb. 17, 2026 (Tuesday)Horse
2027Feb. 6, 2027 (Saturday)Sheep
2028Jan. 26, 2028 (Wednesday)leap month 5Monkey
2029Feb. 13, 2029 (Tuesday)Rooster

To determine which lunar month is duplicated in a leap year, is a quite complicated. If you are interested, have a look at my webpage The Chinese Calendar.

Gong Xi Gong Xi

In the period around CNY you will hear everywhere Chinese New Year songs. One of the most popular ones is Gong Xi, Gong Xi. When I hear it , I can not easily get it out of my head 😉 The same happens for me with the Bolero of Ravel.

Listen to Yao Lee and her brother Yao Min.

Until recently I thought that this was a very old traditional Chinese song. But I was wrong, when I was born the song did not yet exist. It was composed in 1945 by Chen Gexin, NOT as a New Year song, but as a song to celebrate the defeat of Japan and the liberation of China at the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War (World War II).

The Wikipedia article Gong Xi Gong Xi , has the lyrics of the song. Here are a few lines (in translation).

After experiencing so many difficulties,
Going through so many ordeals,
How many hearts are looking forward
To the news of Spring!
Congratulations, congratulations

Although there are numerous Gong Xi’s (Congratulations) in the song, there is a feeling of sadness. Chen was jailed and tortured during the war. Nevertheless, soon it became a popular Chinese New Year Song.

A bit off topic: the D-minor key

Actually the song is written in a minor key, D minor. Here is the score.

The Wikipedia article D minor. gives a list of classical musical works written in that key. I was surprised to discover that several of the works mentioned belong to my all-time favorites.

I can not resist the temptation to mention three of them.

Top of the list, the chaconne from Bach’s 2nd partita for solo violin in D minor. .The most beautiful music ever written. Some of the variations still give me goosebumps. I wrote a blog about it: The Chaconne

Two works by Mozart. Here is his piano concerto KV 466 in D minor, my favorite. Here played by Maria João Pires, also my favorite 😉 . I wrote a blog about her: I have fallen in love

And his Requiem in D minor. I didn’t write a blog about it, but I watched the movie Amadeus many times 😉

Ok, one more, sorry. Bach again, his Toccata & Fugue in D-minor for organ. I wrote a blog about this and other toccatas: Toccatas

2 thoughts on “Gong Xi Fa Cai

  1. Thank for explaining all the zodiac and new year calculations. Phew !
    I Llke your choice of music.
    They say D minor is the saddest key.
    It’s the relative minor of F major.

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