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Chinese New Year: Cheat Sheet

Chinese New Year: Cheat Sheet

Chinese New Year

What is it?

Chinese New Year marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese Calendar.  It is also known as the Lunar New Year. This calendar is lunisolar, meaning that the date is based on the moon phase and time of the solar year. Every year is represented by a zodiac animal sign, and there are twelve of them.

When is it?

People around the globe will be celebrating the Year of the Rooster on Saturday, January 28. Chinese New Year is one of the world’s most significant annual events. For many families, a New Year’s Eve feast is the main event with dishes and customs varying from region to region.

 

What Do People Do?

This is the most important and the longest of all Chinese festivals, celebrated in Chinese communities worldwide. People make offerings (cash), wear new clothes, set off fireworks and host large dinners for family and friends. Chinese New Year is a public holiday in China but it is also a public holiday in many countries across the southeastern region such as Vietnam.

 

History

According to one belief, Buddha promised gifts to all animals that would pay him homage. Only twelve animals came to honor Buddha, so he decided to give each animal one of the twelve years of the Chinese Zodiac.  People born during one of the animal’s years are said to inherit distinctive characteristics of that animal.

 

What’s with the Red Pockets?

Chinese New Year has multiple symbols and traditions. Envelopes with money (Red Pockets) often come in the colour red which symbolizes happiness, good luck, success and good fortune.  The colour red is also used to ward off any evil spirits.

 

What about Lion Dances?

Amongst the traditions mentioned above, bright lanterns and dramatic lion dancer costumes are the most popular Chinese New Year imagery.  The Lion Dance is usually aggressive and loud; however, the deafening effects and the use of cymbals are used in order to scare off evil spirits. The large vivid costumes serve to intimidate the evil eye.

What should I do?

This is a special time for many people around you, please do wish them the following - “Gong Xi Fa Cai”, literally meaning “wishing you an increase in wealth” or” Xin Nian Kuai Le” which translates to “Happy New Year”.

In addition, it's always great to make friends or families feel special so maybe this card would do the trick.  P.S – it’s the Year of the Rooster this time around! 

  • January 11, 2017
  • Talib Contractor
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