Chinese New Year is one of the major festivals in Chinese culture. Just like other ethnic communities of the world, in China too New Year is the most important day of the year. This is the time when family members strive to be with near and dear ones. They regard this as a time to usher out the old year and welcome the new with great festivities and merrymaking.
Chinese New Year is a holiday that celebrates the beginning of a new year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays for Chinese families. The holiday is celebrated with big family gathering, gift giving, the eating of symbolic foods and display of festive decorations - all focused on bringing good luck for the new year and celebrating the coming of spring. In China the lunar calendar is still used to determine traditional holidays like Chinese New Near. Since the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon, which has shorter cycle than the sun- Chinese New Year is never on the same day each year but typically falls somewhere between January 1st and February 20th. Celebrations can last up to a month.
Here are some traditions associated with Chinese New Year.
- Cleaning Houses and New Clothes: Prior to the first day of the New year, it is customary for families to thoroughly clean their houses. Doing this is said to clean out any bad luck from the previous year and to make the house ready to accept the good luck for the coming year. All cleaning must be finished before New Year’s Day so there is no chance of accidentally throwing out the good fortune of the New Year. Wearing black is not allowed due to its association with death, however, wearing red is encouraged as the color is associated with warding off bad spirits.
- Decorating the House: Another popular custom is to hang up signs and posters on doors and windows with Chinese word fu written on them, which means luck and happiness. Buying flowers for the home is also a commonplace since they symbolize the coming of spring and a new beginning.
- New Year’s Eve Dinner: On the eve of the Chinese New Year it is customary to visit relatives and partake in a large dinner where several specific foods are served. It is typical for Chinese family to make eight to nine dishes for the New Year’s Eve dinner because in Chinese language the word ‘eight’ means “prosperity and the ‘nine’ means “long-lasting”.
- Giving Good Luck Gifts: It is a traditional practice for adults to give children little red envelopes filled with money to symbolize wealth and prosperity for the coming year. It is also common for elders to present red packets to the unmarried members of family. Envelopes are not to be open until the recipient has left the home of the giver.
- Honoring the Animals: Every Year is associated with one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. These animals are often represented in decorations. Some people believe that those born during the year of a animal may have the character traits of that animal.
The origins of the Chinese New Year are steeped in legend. One legend is that thousands of years ago a monster named Nian (“Year”) would attack villagers at the beginning of each new year. The monster was afraid of loud noises, bright lights, and red, so those things were used to chase the beast away. Celebrations to brush off the old year and bring forth the luck and good fortune of the new one, therefore, often include cracker, fireworks, and red clothes and decorations. In addition, Chinese New Year is a time to feast and to visit family members. Many traditions of the season honor relatives who have died. The holiday is sometimes called the Lunar New Year because the dates of celebration follow the phases of the moon. Since the mid-1990s people in China have been given seven back-to-back days off work during the Chinese New Year. This week of tranquility has been designated Spring Festival, a term that is sometimes used to refer to the Chinese New Year in general.
The endmost event held during the Chinese New Year is called the Lantern Festival, during which people hang radiance lanterns in temples or carry them during a nighttime march. Since the dragon is a Chinese symbol of good fortune, a dragon dance foregrounds festival celebrations in many areas. This accumulation involves a long, colorful dragon being carried through the streets by many dancers. There have been celebrations to mark the beginning of a new year for thousands of years in China. The custom of making New Year's resolutions is more common in the Chinese sub figure but also exists in the western hemisphere.
This practice involves a person making a dedication to change an outcast habit or behavior or setting a personal accusative. In China beginning of the New Year believed that something would change for our lives. They to temple to pray or squeal sins that what we did last year. We acknowledge our bad behavior what we did. Chinese New Year’s Eve is a favorite holiday around the globe. Chinese people enjoy the whole night with preferred actions, drink, and food. They try to change their lives in New Year and enjoy holiday as much as they can, and it is a good time to rest and have fun after one year of hard working. Most people love this time because it falls in Spring just after the harvesting season. Most Chinese like the New Year celebration, no matter where, when, and how.
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