The festival date is different each year, as it follows the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is based on the movement of the moon. while the date is not set, it usually falls between mid-January and February. This year the Spring festival is On February 5th.
Longest Chinese Holiday
The Spring Festival is 15 days in total, but it is celebrated for around 40 days (yes, 40 days!) starting with the Laba Festival, which marks the beginning of preparation for the lunar new year. Most employees have 7 to 12 days off The work results in the largest human migration in the world, also known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush, where over 3 billlion total trips made by planes, train, bus and ships.
The Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve animals: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. The animals are used to count years, months, days and hours in the lunar calendar Each of the 12 animals stands for a year in a 12-year cycle, a day in the 12-day cycle and for every two hours in a 24-hour day. 2019 is the year of Pig. And guess what? the Chinese Believe that one's Chinese Zodiac says something about his/her personality and uses it to predict one's career, health, relationship and general luck. Here, check out which zodiac animal you have!
Red Packet Traditions
While children in other cultures receive gifts for Christmas, children in China receive red packets called Hongbao (red packets). These red packets, usually prepared by parents and relatives (sometimes bosses and friends), contain an amount of money. 100 ¥ and 1000 ¥ depending on the relationship between the sender and receiver as well as how much the party is able to afford. The custom of giving red packets symbolizes good fortune and the passing down of fortune from the elders.
Red, red and red!
As you probably guessed, Chinese homes will be decorated in red and gold. Do you recall the Legend of Nian (hyperlink)? Firecrackers are not the only defensive tool used against Nian. The colour Red is also a critical weapon and used in most, If not all, the new year decorations. The Chinese will hang up red lanterns, artificial firecrackers and couplets on their doors and walls. Decorations willing to the Chinese Zodiac of the year are also popular.
New Year, New Outfit
To usher in the new year the Chinese believe in wearing brand new clothes from head to toe to symbolise new beginnings. Children love to prepare for this time of the year as they get to buy new outfits, eat plenty of goodies and receive hongbao! Outfits like Qipao an worn, but many simply dressed regular street clothes. more red in colour. Some also opt to wear red underwear for good luck and prosperity! (Maybe it's time to get a new pair)
Reunion Dinner is a MUST
Reunion dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year is an important occasion for families to gather over a meal and commemorate the past year and spend time together. This is especially important for families who do not get to see each other on a regular basis. Are some traditional dishes and their symbolic meanings (usually derived from the character sounds or food appearance):
• Steamed Fish for prosperity
• Dumplings for wealth (don't they look like gold ingots?)
• Spring Rolls for wealth
• Tangyuan (Glutinous Rice Balls) for family reunion
• Niangao (Glutinous Rice Cake) for higher progressions
• Longevity Noodles for happiness and longevity
How to Exchange New Year Greetings
In China, auspicious sayings and greetings may well heard and represent a form of respect that people have for one another. During Spring festival, the Chinese would visit their friends and relatives and kickstart their conversations with these auspicious greeting, so learning some of these greetings Will definitely come in handy (and maybe help you make an impression)! If you can't memorise them all, just smile and remember the easiest: Xin Nian Hao, and you're well-equipped for the festive season!
Happy Lunar New Year!
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