January 25 is the year of the White Metal Rat-a holiday that will be celebrated by more than 1.4 billion people. We talked with Chinese people who have been living in Moscow for a long time and a specialist in Chinese culture and language about what dishes must be on the festive table, what is most often given to each other in the Middle Kingdom and what to expect from the most cunning animal.
Fan Fei, the founder of the project “Gray Mocha” – about the correct name of the holiday and the cunning Rat who deceived the Bull.
In fact, the holiday is correctly called not the Chinese New Year, but the Spring Festival – it is believed that winter ends from this day. It has been celebrated for more than four millennia. It is celebrated not according to the solar, but according to the lunar calendar, on the second new moon after the winter solstice – in the Gregorian calendar adopted in Europe, this date usually falls on the numbers between January 21 and February 21. This year it will be January 25. In the Middle Kingdom, this is the main holiday of the year. By the way, according to legend, the Rat was the first to come to the reception of the Heavenly Emperor-before other animals, so it was she who had the honorable right to start a 12-year cycle. But she achieved her goal by treachery – she deceived the Bull: he ran to the yard first, and she hid on his head. In the year of the Rat, you need to pay more attention to what is happening around you. The rat is calculating, wise, so it is worth listening to other people more often, respecting their opinion. The year promises to be fruitful and monetary, so if you are planning to buy a property or a car, you should not postpone.

We have our own zodiac system in China, which is more popular than the Capricorns-Gemini, which are familiar to you, Europeans, according to animals. It is believed, for example, that people born in the year of the Rat are smart and quick-witted, but they also have a great desire for profit and resourcefulness. At the same time, they are economical, practical, they are lucky all their lives. Rats are advised to compromise more often, interact more with others and try to avoid direct collisions.
Traditional dishes for the Chinese New Year are different in different provinces of the Middle Kingdom. In the north, they usually eat dumplings, and in the south – New Year’s pies made of sticky rice, whole fish (the word “fish” is consonant with the word “prosperity”). And on the 15th day after the New Year, it is customary to eat tangyuan, sweet dumplings with stuffing. We are in the” Gray Mocha ” on this day we will just arrange a festive master class on modeling Chinese dumplings, come. But your habit of eating olivier and tangerines for the New Year seems very strange to us, the Chinese. We do not have a tradition of exchanging gifts: in the family, the older generation (grandparents, aunts, uncles) give their grandchildren or children a red envelope with money.
He Xiao, a journalist from Shanghai media group-about the monster of Nannies and why the New Year should be celebrated in red underwear.

The New Year is a real event for us, the Chinese, and we are very similar to the Russians in this. This is a big Spring Festival, the difficult winter is almost over, a new life begins, a new cycle of it. There is a lot of red color everywhere, on the decorations. This is not for nothing. According to legend, a monster named Nian lived on a mountain (nián means “year” in Chinese), once a year it woke up, descended from the mountain and devoured people, just at the end of winter. So-so beginning of the year, do you agree? So people got tired of it, and they found a way to scare and drive away the monster. It turned out that he is afraid of red and fire. Therefore, to decorate everything around with red lanterns, wicker “hangers” and from the heart to blow up fire firecrackers – the most important thing is that Nian shits in his pants and does not come to people to darken their lives. And the person whose year comes according to the zodiac must definitely wear red underwear, there is no way without it. Others just dress up as they see fit, but you definitely need to dress up in everything new, with a needle – because the New Year is after all. We do not have an analogue of the New Year’s olivier, which is mandatory for all Russians, each province has its own food. But the table should be full of delicacies.
Kirill Batygin, a Chinese translator, head of the Association of MandarinPro Translators-about Chinese gifts and proper congratulations.

The very tradition of giving New Year’s gifts is not very common in China, unlike in Western countries. On the Spring Festival, yasui qian is most often given-pocket money in special red envelopes that both children and adults receive. Chinese social networks even have special options to send such electronic red envelopes. There is a long-standing custom that requires that money be given to any child who came to the house in the first 15 days of the New Year. The gifts that you present to the Chinese for the Spring Festival do not necessarily have to be very expensive. There is a classic rule: it is not a gift that is expensive, but feelings. Good options can be tea, wine, chocolate or fruit. Young Chinese people will gratefully accept cosmetics or a fitness subscription. However, no one will be offended by more expensive gifts, the main thing is that from the heart! And do not forget to congratulate each other correctly: