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Episodio #48: Benvenuti nell'anno del Maiale

Source: pixabay.com/Magda Ehlers

È giunta l'ora di congedarsi dall'anno del cane e di accogliere quello del maiale.

Slow Italian, Fast Learning, il meglio dei nostri servizi della settimana, letti più lentamente e più scanditi, con i testi in italiano e in inglese.

Italian

La tradizione di celebrare il capodanno lunare risale al tempo dell'imperatore cinese Huang Li nel 2.600 avanti Cristo.

A differenza del calendario occidentale o gregoriano, il calendario lunare cinese è basato sui cicli della luna.

A causa di questa datazione ciclica, l'inizio dell'anno può cadere tra fine gennaio e fine febbraio.

Un ciclo lunare completo dura 60 anni ed è fatto di cinque cicli di 12 anni ciascuno.

In Cina, le celebrazioni del Capodanno lunare vedono milioni di cinesi emigrati nelle città fare ritorno a casa, innescando uno dei principali movimenti di popolazione nel mondo.

E se questo spostamento di popolazione non è così drammatico in Australia, il Capodanno Lunare resta tuttavia un momento di celebrazione in tutto il Paese.

"We celebrate it very traditionally. Chinese New Year to the Chinese is all about spending time with family and friends. So getting together and catching up with people you have not seen for a while. You have lots of noodles because that signifies long life. Chinese new year day itself we don't eat any meat, we eat Chinese new year dumplings and that sort of thing."

Questo era Austin Chin, un australiano di terza generazione di origine cinese, presidente della Chung Wah Society a Darwin, un club per cinesi-australiani.

Darwin ospita una comunità ben inserita che risale alla fine dell'Ottocento.

Chin spiega che persone cinesi arrivarono a Darwin nel 1874 come lavoratori a contratto o 'coolies' - e affrontarono molte difficoltà, tra cui la discriminazione sancita dalla White Australia Policy.

Per Chin celebrare il Capodanno Lunare rimane una parte importante della sua vita, inoltre crede fermamente nello zodiaco cinese.

"Absolutely. 12 animals and each animal has four elements, earth, fire, metal and water. And you know just because someone is a dragon or an ox or whatever does not mean they are all the same. And the time of the day you are born also influences it. I could probably look at someone's personality and guess within three guesses which animal sign they are."

Le persone di origine tailandese, cinese, coreana, vietnamita, giapponese, malese e singaporeana sono tra coloro che celebrano il Capodanno Lunare.

Nel Fairfield City Council di Sydney, il 21 per cento della popolazione ha origini vietnamite.

In Vietnam, il Capodanno Lunare è conosciuto come Tet, e la grande comunità vietnamita di Fairfield ha le proprie celebrazioni.

L'albero Mai è parte integrante delle festività vietnamite, con decorazioni che vengono appese all'albero per simboleggiare la speranza per un nuovo anno.

Il sindaco del Fairfield City Council, Frank Carbone, dice che è un buon momento per visitare i quartieri con grandi comunità asiatiche.

"Of course we have Chinese, we have Vietnamese, we have Cambodian, we have Laotian, we also have a lot of European communities here. There is a spring in everyone's step as far as the communities from south-east Asian countries. It's wonderful. There is a lot more shopping, a lot of the communities are buying more food, because in their tradition they bring in the new year with new  food in their homes and you can really see a festive appearance in our local streets."

Nel Victoria - dove ora il mandarino è la lingua più parlata dopo l'inglese - c'è stato un aumento delle celebrazioni per il Capodanno Lunare.

Kee Saw è il direttore della Chinese Chamber of Commerce Victoria.

Dice che in questo periodo uno dei suoi riti preferiti nel mondo è quello di dare buste rosse con soldi a bambini e persone non sposate.

Il colore rosso terrebbe lontani gli spiriti maligni e simboleggia la buona fortuna.

"It's definitely new years eve where everyone comes together and has a reunion dinner where the best food is served and the kids are happy because they get a red packet from the married adults. And the kids from as young as newborns to as long as they are not married, to adults will be the happiest."

English

The tradition of welcoming the Lunar New Year dates back to the time of Chinese Emperor Huang Li in 2,600 B.C.

Like the Western calendar, the Chinese lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon.

Because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February.

A complete lunar cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each.

In China, Lunar New Year celebrations see the return home of millions of Chinese who migrated to the cities, triggering one of the largest movements of people in the world.

And while the movement of people isn't so dramatic in Australia, the Lunar New Year is still a time of celebration across the country.

"We celebrate it very traditionally. Chinese New Year to the Chinese is all about spending time with family and friends. So getting together and catching up with people you have not seen for a while. You have lots of noodles because that signifies long life. Chinese new year day itself we don't eat any meat, we eat Chinese new year dumplings and that sort of thing."

That's Austin Chin a third-generation Australian of Chinese heritage and the President of the Chung Wah Society in Darwin, a social club for Chinese-Australians.

Darwin is home to an established community that dates back to the late 1800s.

Mr Chin says Chinese people arrived in Darwin in 1874 as indentured labourers or 'coolies' - and faced many difficulties including discrimination under the White Australia Policy.

For Mr Chin celebrating the Lunar new year remain an important part of his life, and he is also a firm believer in the Chinese zodiac.

"Absolutely.  12 animals and each animal has four elements, earth, fire, metal and water. And you know just because someone is a dragon or an ox or whatever does not mean they are all the same. And the time of the day you are born also influences it. I could probably look at someone's personality and guess within three guesses which animal sign they are."

People from Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian backgrounds are among others who celebrate the Lunar New Year.

In Fairfield City Council in Sydney, 21 per cent of the population is of Vietnamese origin.

In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year is known as Tet, and Fairfield's large Vietnamese community also have their own celebrations.

The Mai tree is an integral part of Vietnamese festivities, with decorations hung on the tree to symbolise the hope of a new year.

Mayor Frank Carbone is the mayor of Fairfield City Council he says it's a good time for people to visit areas with large Asian communities. 

"Of course we have Chinese, we have Vietnamese, we have Cambodian, we have Laotian, we also have a lot of European communities here. There is a spring in everyone's step as far as the communities from south-east Asian countries. It's wonderful. There is a lot more shopping, a lot of the communities are buying more food, because in their tradition they bring in the new year with new  food in their homes and you can really see a festive appearance in our local streets."

Victoria - where Mandarin is now the most widely spoken language after English - has also seen an increase in Lunar New Year celebrations.

Kee Saw is the Chairman of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Victoria.

He says at this time one of the favourite rituals around the world is the giving of red envelopes with money to children and unmarried people.

The colour red is believed to ward off bad spirits and symbolise good luck.

"It's definitely new years eve where everyone comes together and has a reunion dinner where the best food is served and the kids are happy because they get a red packet from the married adults. And the kids from as young as newborns to as long as they are not married, to adults will be the happiest."

Report by Peggy Giakoumelos

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