Days of Celebration• Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the lunar calendar on the new moon.• Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, on a date between January 22 and February 20. This means that the holiday usually falls on the second, and occasionally on the third new moon after the winter solstice.• Families meet starting on New Year’s eve. They gather together for a large meal and for prayer.• The period around Chinese New Year is the time when the largest number of Chinese migrate in order to reunite with their families for the holidays• Chinese New Year ends on the 15th: this day is called Lantern Festival (yuánxiāojié, 元宵节 ). This takes place around the time of the full moon.
The Chinese CalendarThe Chinese year can be named three ways: 1. By its number: the current year is 4705 by the Chinese calendar 2. By its animal name: there are 12 animal names, and they are recycled every 12 years. 2008 is the Year of the Rat. 3. By its stem-branch notation, where years are named based on 60-year cycles, and are combinations of the five “heavenly” stems (elements) and the twelve “earthly” branches (animals). • This is what the Chinese horoscope is based upon. This is the year of the Fire Pig, and I was born in the year of the Metal Rooster. • What to notice is that the combination names are different from the separate names, for example, Fire Pig is dīnghài ( 丁亥 ) instead of huǒzhū
Chinese Calendar Symbols• The five elements are: wood ( 木 , mù), fire ( 火 , huǒ), earth ( 土 , tǔ), metal ( 金 , jīn), and water ( 水 , shǔi)• The twelve animals are: 1 2 4 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Early Celebration Events• Before the New Year, everyone sweeps their homes to get rid of bad luck from the old year and prepare their homes for good luck• On New Year’s Eve, families get together and share a large meal, usually at the home of the eldest member of the family• Red packets of money, or hóng bāo, are often distributed from elders to younger members of the family during or after the dinner. Never put $4 in red envelopes because it is the number for death. 8, on the other hand, is a lucky number.
Hóng BāoKeep them for the year for good luck!!!
Prayer• Many Chinese are Buddhist or Taoist, so prayer is a big component of celebrations• Incense is lit, prayers are sent to the gods (Buddha, Lady Buddha, Gods of Health, Happiness, Longevity….)
Superstitions• Only wear good luck colors, which is primarily red, but secondaries are gold and pink• You cannot sweep on the first day, or you will be removing the good luck from your home• You’re not supposed to wash your hair the first day or you wash away your good luck, but people usually do anyways because, well, it’s kinda gross• For those who believe in horoscopes, you must travel in the good luck direction on the first day: east was happiness and west was prosperity this year
Foods• Snacks are eaten throughout the holidays such as red melon seeds, sugared fruits, and sesame and peanut candies. Since you are not allowed to sweep on New Years, red seeds are often strewn all over the floors!• Many people are vegetarian for one or more days during the New Year period because it signifies longevity, so they eat dishes like Buddha’s delight, which is usually made up of 18 ingredients like veggies, black mushrooms, bean thread noodles, and dates• Fish is almost always served on New Year’s eve because yú ( 魚 ) sounds like “surplus,” so we can say “nián nián yǒu yú,” or “may there be surplus every year”
The End of FestivitiesThe Lantern Festival signifies the last day of celebrations. Traditionally, it was a good day for finding love and for matchmaking.
The Meaning of Chinese New Year*** EVERYONE gets one year older!