WELCOME TO EDITION 845 of GRAPEVINE
A New Year is decided by the calendar.
Not race nor nationality.
There is, for example, no such thing as “French New Year”, “Spanish New Year” or “British New Year”.
That new year is the Gregorian New Year, named for Pope Gregory XIII who had introduced it in 1582.
The then new calendar solved the issue with leap years, restoring January 1 as the start of the year.
Nations and people who chart their lives on that calendar, when greetings are made, no one utters “Happy Gregorian New Year”.
Or “Happy Bologna New Year” or “Happy Rome New Year” as those were the two cities where Gregory XIII was born and died respectively.
To say “Happy Italian New Year” would also be wrong and impossible since Italy – as we know it today– was not yet created.
LUNAR NEW YEAR
The Year of the Rabbit – and that of the other 11 animals – is based on the lunar calendar.
It is celebrated, including by Mongolians, Vietnamese, Koreans, and Chinese.
(Japan switched from the lunar to the Gregorian calendar on 1 January 1873.)
None of those cultures or races go round wishing each other “Happy Mongolian, Happy Vietnamese, Happy Korean, or Happy Chinese New Year”.
We just say “Happy New Year!”
There is also a solar calendar.
Whether lunar or solar, those markers may also – and often do – combine the moon phase and the position of the sun in the earth’s sky. And should properly be referred to as lunisolar calendars.
Today, there are people who insists on calling the Lunar New Year “Chinese New Year”.
This expression evolved in communities, societies, and countries where Chinese people co-exist with other cultures and races.
The expression began to be used by the other cultures and races when referring to Chinese within their sphere celebrating the Lunar New Year (so as to differentiate that from their own new year, usually the Gregorian version).
So was born the somewhat foreign expression “Chinese New Year”.
Have you ever heard a Chinese person wishing another Chinese “Happy Chinese New Year”? Duh!
To monopolise the lunar calendar as being Chinese is plain possessiveness.
Possessive people are at best silly, at worst stupid.
When something is wonderful, it should be shared.
That’s when we can be truly proud of being a part of a greater humankind.
Wishing you and your loved ones:
HAPPINESS, HEALTH & GOODWILL IN THE NEW YEAR!