In the Chinese calendar, the most important event is the Spring Festival, otherwise known as Chinese New Year. 2015 is the year of the goat, with the extravagant celebrations having taken place from the 19th February, marking the first day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar.
The year of the goat
Those who are born in the year of the goat are believed to be gentle, friendly, creative and very resilient. They are also considered to be private people with a select few friends for whom they feel much love and affection. According to Chinese theory, the zodiac years are divided into gold, water, fire, earth and wood – with 2015 being the year of the wood goat for the first time in 60 years.
Tradition states that it is bad luck when your zodiac year (or Ben Ming Nian) comes around, as it offends the Chinese god of age. However, red is an extremely lucky colour in Chinese culture and wearing red clothing is believed to bring success and happiness. Red envelopes filled with money are a popular new year’s gift while red lanterns and decorations feature prominently at the festivities. Gold chocolate coins are a special present given in the year of the goat.
Live music, fireworks and colourful costumes are all popular ways to celebrate the year of the goat, with some of the biggest parties outside of China taking place in Taiwan, Manila and Sydney. This is a time where it is traditional to gather and celebrate with family and friends and to clean and decorate the home in preparation for the year ahead. Everything is aimed at starting anew.
For those of us who can’t squeeze in a trip to the Far East, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the year of the goat. The medieval town of Kitzbuehel in the Austrian Alps is known as the town of the chamois – a species of goat-antelope – in reference to the animals that wander the surrounding mountains. The town features a chamois statue and Kitzbuehel is rumoured to take its name from the German word kitz meaning chamois kid goat.
Designed as a haven of tranquillity in the middle of Kitzbuehel, the Hotel Zur Tenne features a beautiful spa and exquisite interiors, with antique woods, warm colours, embroidered furnishings and large windows, allowing guests to embrace the surroundings. The restaurant offers authentic regional specialities, which can be enjoyed al fresco in the winter gardens or tucked up inside by the fireplace. The town itself has been voted the best ski resort in the world.
Some of the most colourful celebrations in the Far East are taking place in Kuala Lumpur, and the Shangri-La is the perfect base from which to enjoy it all. This opulent five-star hotel has everything that the luxury traveller could wish for, along with a privileged location in the bustling Malaysian capital. This year, the centrepiece of the celebrations is a beautiful floral goat that stands in the hotel lobby as a symbol of prosperity. Adorned with a dazzling display of more than 13,000 fresh flowers, it took eight artists a week to create the sculpture. The hotel has also designed a special New Year’s collection of cake and chocolate.
The best of British
On the other side of the world, travellers will find the Grazing Goat. This London-based gastro pub/hotel takes its name from the first Lady Portman, whose allergy to cow’s milk led her to keep goats on the land where the hotel now stands. Chic and stylish, the hotel comprises eight guestrooms decorated in country house style. Oak panelling and natural colours feature alongside flat screen TVs and speedy Wi-Fi for the perfect fusion of rustic and modern. The pub offers top quality British seasonal fare and a great location from which to enjoy the lively New Year celebrations.
The final hotel in our goat-themed collection is the Mountain Goat Lodge Colorado. This rural lodge has its herd of dairy goats, which facilitate the in-house cheese making. Guests can even partake in goat care and cheese making classes. The lodge has easy access to the best in outdoor sports, with white-water rafting, skiing, snowboarding and climbing. The lodge features six guestrooms and there’s even the opportunity to sleep in a retro camper van.