All About the Chinese New Year

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The Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, falls on a different date every year. With the help of the Chinese lunar calendar, the date is determined, and it usually falls between the 21st of January and February 20th. This year, the Chinese New Year will be on the second Monday and the 8th day of February.

As what many of us now know, the Chinese Zodiac is made up of 12 animals, which have distinct characteristics. Each Chinese New Year is associated with an animal. For the year 2016, it will be the monkey, which is the 9th of the 12 animals. People born in the years 1896, 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, and (of course!) 2016, fall under the Year of the Monkey.

These are just some of the interesting stuff associated with the Chinese New Year. There are many other fun facts about this colorful holiday. Here are a few:

  • A Chinese New Year celebration is considered the longest festival in the Chinese calendar as it usually goes on for 15 days.
  • The Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival because the ancient solar calendar marks February 4 to 18 as the period when the spring season started.
  • Chinese New Year celebrations are popular and big not only in China and other Asian countries, but also in London. In 2013, around 500 people attended the Chinese New Year revelry in Trafalgar Square.
  • If you were to follow tradition, you’ll hold The Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first lunar month. The festival happens in the evening, when the full moon is out.
  • Red is the ideal (and lucky) color for Chinese New Year celebrations. This is the color used for decorations, whether at home or in the streets. Red decorations are said to scare off a ferocious monster called Nian. This monster is said to love feasting on humans and comes out every New Year’s Eve.
  • Chunlian refers to strips of red paper that carry messages of fortune and good health. These messages are called Spring Couplets.
  • Gong xi fa cai means Congratulations and be prosperous, which is intended to invite good luck. When you say. “Gong xi fa cai, hong bao na lai”, you are telling someone “congratulations and be prosperous, now, give me a red envelope!”.
  • Cleaning the house thoroughly to prepare for the festival is believed to drive away bad feelings. Bad luck and dishonor will hound the family if this belief is not followed.
  • A lot of fireworks are used during the Chinese New Year, and this is because fireworks are said to scare away evil spirits.

Let’s hope these interesting Chinese New Year facts have made you more excited to meet the Year of the Monkey! At least, you now have an idea of how to celebrate it properly.

Have fun and Xinnian Kuaile (sshinnyen kwhyluh)! Happy New Year!

 

Sources:

http://www.k-international.com/blog/18-fun-facts-about-the-chinese-new-year/

http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/new-year-facts.htm

 

(Photo credits: Free to Download from pixabay.com. https://pixabay.com/en/monkey-funny-monkey-new-year-animal-1088503/ and https://pixabay.com/en/chinese-new-year-festival-707450/)

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