Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a holiday that celebrates the beginning of a new year according to the according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It is considered to be one of the most important holidays for Chinese families. The holiday is celebrated with big family gatherings, gift giving, the eating of symbolic foods and display 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 Year. 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 21st and February 20th. Celebrations can actually last up to a month. Here are some traditions associated with Chinese New Year.

Cleaning Houses and New Clothes

Prior to the 1st day of the New Year it is customary for families to thoroughly clean their houses. Doing this is said to clear out any bad luck from the previous year and to make the house ready to accept 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 colour 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 the Chinese word fu written on them, Which means luck and happiness.Buying flowers for the home is also common place 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 a number of specific foods are served.It is typically for a 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 word “nine”means “long-lasting”.

Giving Good Luck Gifts

It is traditional practice for adults to give children little red envelopes filled with money in order to symbolize wealth and prosperity for the coming year.  Envelops are not to be opened until the recipient has left the home of the giver.

Honouring the Animal

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 particular animal may have the character traits of the animal.

Chinese new year is a time when the family should come together in order to give thanks for the year that has passed, and reinvigorate themselves for the coming year.

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