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Photographer's Note

This photo was taken in City Plaza - a large shopping center at Tai Koo Shing, on Hong Kong Island.

During the Christmas period they had a lovely Christmas tree - about 4-floors high. When I passed through last Saturday, I noticed that they had replaced it with an equally large tree to represent the coming of the Chinese New Year. (I took this photo from the third floor.)

I believe the tree is meant to be a 'Plum Blossom', which stands for courage and hope. The blossoms burst forth at the end of winter on a seemingly lifeless branch. In Chinese art, plum blossoms are associated with the entire season of winter and not just the New Year.

The reason why ancient Chinese arranged the beginning of the new year in cold days, was that people had less work to do in winter - just collecting - compared to harvesting in autumn, ploughing in spring and weeding in summer.

Year 2004 is the 4701st Chinese year. The Chinese traditional calendar was still used in China up until the Revolution of 1911, then the Gregorian calendar became popular.

The Chinese calendar used the Stem-Branch system to count the days, months and years. There are 10 Stems and 12 Branches in this system. Stems are named by the Yin-Yang and Five Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth). Branches use the animal names.

Using this system, the year 2004 is a Chinese Green Wooden Monkey Year - and it starts tomorrow - January 22nd.

Kenny10pin, leschamb has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Andrew Orme (orme) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1702 W: 116 N: 1617] (7213)
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