Between the "civil" New Year on January 1st and the Khmer New Year in April, people around Cambodia are happily celebrating the Lunar New Year this week, particularly in its Chinese version. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 is the last of the 12-year lunar cycle, the Year of the Pig.
Cymbal and drums, fireworks and bonfires, push the bad spirits away. Red pockets (envelops) are gifted as a way to ensure that the elders' good fortune will be passed onto the new generations. In Mandarin Chinese, the wish expressed during the celebrations: gong xi fa cai (恭喜发财), meaning “congratulations on the Fortune.”
Several MAADS hotels are joining the festivities by presenting guests with red envelops, and entering prizes (complimentary stays) in the competition to be held on Weibo, the hugely popular social media platform.
And at TeaHouse, our urban Asian hotel in Phnom Penh, a mouth-watering New Year menu celebrating Chinese cuisine will be paired with a wide selection of teas...or with wine. After all, Chinese traditions have developed a specific rice wine just for the New Year, niánjiǔ (年酒), "the year alcohol"!