Begins Tuesday, February 1. It’s the Year of the Tiger
The Chinese New Year is the most important festival in Chinese culture. It is celebrated on the new moon of the first month according to the lunar calendar and is a time for family reunions and scrumptious feasts.
While Chinese New Year is celebrated in Asian countries like China and Singapore, it is also celebrated in Chinatowns spanning New York City to San Francisco.
How Long Is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year traditionally lasts from the first day to the 15th day of the New Year (which is the Lantern Festival), but the demands of modern life mean that most people don’t get such an extended holiday. Still, the first five days of the New Year are an official holiday in Taiwan, while workers in Mainland China and Singapore get at least 2 or 3 days off.
A chance to leave the problems of the previous year behind, it is important to start the New Year fresh. This means cleaning up the house and buying new clothes.
Homes are decorated with red paper banners which have auspicious couplets written on them. These are hung around doorways and are intended to bring luck to the household for the coming year.
Red is an important color in Chinese culture, symbolizing prosperity. Many people will wear red clothing during the New Year celebrations, and houses will have many red decorations such as Chinese knotwork.
Red envelopes (►hóng bāo) are given to children and unmarried adults. Married couples also give red envelopes to their parents.
The envelopes contain money. The money must be in new bills, and the total amount must be an even number. Certain numbers (such as four) are bad luck, so the total amount should not be one of these unlucky numbers. “Four” is a homonym for “death”, so a red envelope should never contain $4, $40, or $400.
Starting at midnight New Year’s Eve and continuing throughout the day, fireworks of all shapes and sizes are lit and launched. The tradition began with the legend of Nian, a ferocious monster that was afraid of the colors red and loud noises. It is believed the noisy fireworks scared the monster. Now, it is believed that the more fireworks and noise there are, the more luck there will be in the New Year, so Chinese New Year is a very loud celebration. Long strings of firecrackers are set off throughout the holiday, and there are many displays of fireworks lighting up the evening skies
There are many superstitions surrounding the Chinese New Year. The following activities avoided by most Chinese on Chinese New Year’s Day include:
- Breaking dishes, which brings bad luck.
- Getting rid of the trash, which is likened to sweeping away good fortune.
- Scolding children is a sign of bad luck.
- Crying is another sign of bad luck.
- Saying inauspicious words, another sign of bad luck.
- Washing hair is also said to bring bad luck on this day.
|xīn nián kuài lè||Happy New Year||新年快樂||新年快乐|