A new year marks a fresh start for people from all around the world. On the 1st of January, 2018 people will be waking up determined to make a change in their lives. But if you’re like me and 99% of people then these resolutions sadly don’t last long into the new year, maybe you’ve even decided to make one of these common resolutions.
Promising to ring your parents more often.
Starting a new fitness regime.
Losing those Christmas pounds.
Meeting your dream date.
Partying less and studying more.
This year you may be even more determined to make your new year’s resolutions come true but how can we make wishes come true? It seems that Chinese people have the answer.
One thousand paper cranes
One thousand paper cranes Photo credit: m.gexing.com
People born in the 1980s are familiar with this tradition as it is part of their adolescent memories. The old saying is it brings the person you love good luck if you make one paper crane every day and continue doing it for one thousand days. Traditionally girls would give boys a bottle containing 1,000 paper cranes as a gift to demonstrate their sincerity as making 1,000 tiny paper birds is an extremely time-consuming activity and shows their love for them. Perhaps today’s equivalent is taking a selfie and collecting 1,000 “likes” and saying it’s for their boyfriend/girlfriend.
The Kongming lantern
The Kongming lantern Photo credit: zj.xinhuanet.com
The Kongming Lantern is a beautiful way of making a wish but did you know it was initially invented for use in the Chinese military as a signaling system? It is said that the brilliant military strategist Zhuge Kongming in the ‘Three Kingdoms period’ (25 BCE – 220BCE) made this lantern when he and his army were besieged in Pingyang, Shaanxi. He predicted the wind direction and covered the lanterns in SOS messages which enabled the relief troops to come to his assistance. Today, Kongming Lanterns have dropped their military function and become the wish lantern which transfer people’s hope to the sky. This is another proof that Chinese people prefer peace than war (The other one is Chinese invented gun powder but use it as fire crackers instead of weapons to celebrate Spring Festival).
The Water lantern
The Water lantern Photo credit: teapopo.com
Taiwan and Fujian Province are only separated by a small body of water called the Taiwan Strait. People living in Fujian who have family members in Taiwan would release these water lanterns to deliver their greetings and best wishes. Blown along by the tide and the wind these beautiful little lanterns are believed to bring good luck for those who receive them.
The wishing tree
The wishing tree Photo credit:m.sohu.com
The most famous wishing tree is located in Taipo Lam Tsuen in Hong Kong. There are two banyan trees twining with wishing boards and red ribbons. People wrote their wishes on the wishing board and tied it with orange, then threw them up high to the tree branches. It says their wishes will come true if the board lands and hangs securely on the branches, therefore people made great effort to throw them. Finally in 2005, one of the trees dropped a huge main branch which could not stand the weight of all those oranges and people were injured as a result. Ever since, throwing “heavy wishes” to these two trees was strictly regulated.
The coin throwing
The coin throwing Photo credit: fund.stockstar.com
Usually in a temple, it is not hard to see a great quantity of coins lying on the bottom of a fish pool. People believe that God will hear your voice if you “bribe” him a little bit. Sadly, a few ignorant people have carried on this practice at the zoo and throw coins at crocodiles or other animals that Chinese people believe represent good luck. One day in June last year, China Southern Airlines had to delay departure time because a passenger had thrown coins into one of the plane’s engines.....
The new year is here! The team at GuideinChina would like to wish you a brilliant new year with many achievements. If life doesn’t treat you the way you want, please be thankful and don't throw coins to a crocodile or a monkey!