Another New Years?

It’s already February why is New Years being celebrated again?

I’m pretty sure you know of the Chinese Zodiac or heard of the luckiness of wearing red, this is all connected to a holiday widely celebrated in Asia: Chinese New Year or also known as the Lunar New Year. This article is a little guide to introduce you to an enthusiastic way to celebrate a new holiday.

What is Chinese New Years?

The New Year is best summed up by the google definition of, “The Chinese festival marking the start of the new year, beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ending on the full moon fifteen days later. It is marked by visits to family and friends, special meals, fireworks, and gift giving.”

This covers the basics up pretty nicely but the fun starts when you get into the actual celebration which lasts for 15 days. This year the New Year started on February 5th and ends on the 19th.

What do you do during the New year?

Much of the holiday is spent on welcoming spring and warding off evil with your friends and family with many traditions sprinkled in between.

Pre-celebration includes cleaning and preparing the home for company and decorating with lanterns, posters, or pictures throughout the home to spread good luck with their red and gold colors.

Other traditions are setting off fireworks and firecrackers, which are supposed to ward off any bad luck or lingering spirits and to bring in the good. On the open streets or in restaurants performances such as live music or dragon/lion dances are there to show off the long history of how the celebration came to be.

Children (and sometimes adults) are gifted with red envelopes with money in them as lucky tokens.

One gigantic part is the food since an entire family can be and one home it’s important to have food ready for everyone. Traditional dishes include niángāo (New Years Cake), dumplings, steamed fish, spring rolls, and hot pots are made in bulk to feed everyone.

How does the Chinese Zodiac play into the holiday?

Through an old folk-tale it’s known that an Emperor held a race to decide the sequence of animals, that race ended up with the 12 main animals we celebrate within 12 years. And if you were born on a certain year you are said to have traits associated with that animal. This year is the Pig, which is associated with wealth, and if you were born on this year you are said to be good-hearted, loyal, honest, and gentle.

How does everyone have time to celebrate all of this?

Since Chinese New Year is a national holiday most public buildings are closed for a whole week to allow enough time to celebrate. However, some banks will have workers on the ready and public transports remain open. Overall it has been tradition for some time and will continue.