January 24, 2017

Relocating to China: What You Should Know About the Lunar New Year

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Relocating to China: What You Should Know About the Lunar New Year

Celebrations take place around the world this week to mark Lunar New Year. It’s the Year of the Rooster, the tenth in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac signs. Past Years of the Rooster include 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and this year, 2017.

The Rooster is considered to be the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing of the rooster each morning was significant, as it would awaken people to get up and start to work. Relocating employees will have an exciting experience the first time they celebrate the Lunar New Year! I’ll share some background as well as some of the impressions from Cartus employees on what the New Year means to them. 

Five Types of Rooster — Which One Are You?

It is thought that a person's characteristics are decided by both their birth year's zodiac sign and element. So there are five types of Roosters, each with different characteristics:

Type of Rooster

Year of Birth


Wood Rooster

1945,   2005

Energetic, overconfident, tender, and unstable

Fire Rooster

1957,   2017

Trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work

Earth Rooster

1909,   1969

Generous, trustworthy, and popular with their friends

Gold Rooster

1921,   1981

Determined, brave, perseverant, and hardworking

Water Rooster

1933,   1993

Smart, quick-witted, tender-hearted, and compassionate


In Cartus’ APAC offices, we have relocation teams representing each zodiac sign, and to mark the New Year I have enjoyed speaking with two roosters, Iris Lao in our Hong Kong office, and Jocelyn Allard who is based in Singapore, to find out what Chinese New Year means to them.

Iris Lao, Finance Manager (Hong Kong)

How have you been celebrating Chinese New Year in Hong Kong thus far?
I have annual gatherings with my family and friends. I look forward to spending this special occasion with them every year!

What do you find the most interesting part of the New Yew Year festivities?
Having the time to play the traditional Chinese game Mahjong, watching the New Year parade on TV, and enjoying the annual fireworks display.

What’s your favourite New Year treat?
Turnip Cake (蘿蔔糕) which is a Chinese dim sum dish made of shredded radish and plain rice flour. It is commonly served in Cantonese yum cha and is usually cut into rectangular slices and pan-fried before serving. Each pan-fried cake has a thin crunchy layer on the outside from frying, and is soft on the inside. It’s delicious!

You were born in the Year of the Rooster. What’s your biggest wish that you hope will come true this year?
Being in good health would be the most important. Secondly, getting to travel to different parts of the world which I have never been to.

Jocelyn Allard, International Relocation Consultant – Cartus Singapore

How have you been celebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore thus far?
Well, to be honest I have never celebrated Chinese New Year in a big way. I’m Canadian, and although I’ve been here for almost two years, Chinese New Year is still new to me. But this year, it will be special for me as I will be spending time and enjoying the festivities with my girlfriend and her large family. I’m looking forward to meeting up with all the relatives and getting to know more about the traditions and superstitions of the Lunar New Year. 

What do you find most interesting in the New Year festivities?
In Singapore, there’s a tradition of receiving money in red packets, a tradition of good luck and fortune bestowed on you by married couples. We do not include red packets as part of the festivities in Canada so this is fascinating to me!

What’s your favourite New Year treat?
Each year in the office we toss vegetables which is called ‘Lo Hei’ to bring good luck and prosperity for the year ahead. As I love vegetables, that’s the most enjoyable treat for me! Other than that, my teammates will bring in goodies like pineapple tarts, local delicacies, and more. I noticed last year that February was a month that I gained weight from all the goodies. I guess, this time around, January will not escape me!

You are born in the Year of the Rooster, what’s your biggest wish that you hope will come true this year?
It’s my wish (and also my wishful thinking) that the taxes I have to pay back in Canada will be lower than I anticipate! In addition, I would like to live up to my Gold Rooster status and be a good worker on my team here at Cartus! 

On behalf of all the Cartus APAC relocation teams, we wish you Xin Nian Kuai Le Wan Shi Ru Yi! (Happy New Year and a Successful Year Ahead!)

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