Today is the first day of the 2017 Lunar New Year aka Spring Festival aka Chinese New Year in China and while I am not Chinese I celebrate Chinese New Year. My husband and I were expats in China for 3 years and I love many of the traditions and culture of the Chinese people. So much so that I brought much of that back to Canada with me. ( My youngest son teases that my home ( upstairs) is the China Museum and downstairs is the Brazil Museum ( we lived there too) But that’s ok. I know he’s teasing, but it helps me. It helps to be surrounded by things that remind you of a special place, great people and food and memories of a place that is otherwise so far away. It also helps me not miss China too much, and gets me through until I can visit again ( I have been back twice since we’ve moved home, and plan to go again hopefully in 2018)
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival in China, is China’s most important traditional festival. It is also the most important celebration for families, and a week of official public holiday.
Although there are many stories about the start of the Chinese New Year festival, the main two reasons for the festival are:
- To celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest, and relax with family
- To wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year
Chinese people believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky year. Chinese traditionally celebrated the start of a new year of farm work, and wished for a good harvest (when most were farmers). This has now evolved to celebrating the start of a new business year and wishing for profits and success in various vocations.
Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. So many people travel during Spring Festival. Other than National days in October, it is the busiest travel time of the year!
The New Year’s Eve dinner is called “Reunion Dinner”, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together. The Reunion Dinner is celebrated on the “eve” of Chinese New Year.
The main traditional celebrations of the festival include eating reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes, firecrackers, new clothes, and decorations. More modern celebrations include watching the CCTV Gala, instant message greetings, and cyber money gifts. Every year I watch the CCTV Gala, a habit I got used to in China. I usually chat with a few of my Chinese friends and family. ( I have even gotten red envelope money from a few of them) ***Check out the post from yesterday. https://justaneastcoastgirl.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8624&action=edit
Every street, building, and house where Chinese New Year is celebrated is decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Red lanterns hang in streets, red couplets are pasted on doors, banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster so much of this year’s decorations are related to roosters!
2017 is a year of the Rooster according to the Chinese 12 year animal zodiac. Other Rooster years include: …1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017… If you were born in one of those years… then you’re a Rooster. ( I am a Goat) What zodiac animal are you? Check the chart below.
It’s interesting that the Chinese believe if it’s your zodiac year, for example 2017 is Year of the Rooster. It is considered a bad year for “Roosters”: people born in a Rooster year. According to Chinese tradition, there are some things that people can do to fend off bad luck in a zodiac year.
Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese culture, standing for prosperity, loyalty, success, and happiness. Red can drive away bad luck and evil spirits.Therefore wearing red during your zodiac year will bring you good luck and give you a good year. You can wear a red belt, red socks, red shoes, or red clothes, and red underwear is highly recommended during your zodiac year. However, there is a rule that you need to pay attention to, or the red won’t ward off bad luck. You cannot buy the red underwear yourself. It should be bought by a spouse, family member, or friend. lol
Besides wearing red, you can also wear jade accessories during your zodiac year to ward off bad luck, like pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets.
People are often told by fortune-tellers that Tai Sui will bring bad luck. Actually in theory you can make use of Tai Sui to bring good luck, by facing in the opposite direction. So if it is your zodiac year , may people will rearrange their furniture.
There is so much superstition I find “interesting”. I’d rather look at it and see my zodiac year as a lucky year! A blessed year!
Each Chinese zodiac year begins on Chinese New Year’s Day. The date of Chinese New Year is not on January 1st and varies year to year. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar: influenced by the moon and the sun. It is used for the dates of traditional activities in China, East Asia, and many Chinese and East Asian communities around the world. Although China uses the Gregorian calendar for most official and business purposes, the Chinese calendar is still used to determine the days of traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn.
The standard public holiday for (Mainland) Chinese is the 7 days from Chinese New Year’s Eve to day 6 of the lunar calendar new year (this year January 27 – February 2, 2017). Most of my Chinese friends will go back to work for a few days starting back on February 5th but then be off again for the Lantern Festival. Traditionally the end of the Spring Festival is The lantern Festival ( Chinese month 1 day 15) (February 11, 2017). Beautiful red lanterns are displayed and sweet rice dumplings are eaten.
This post was long, I’m sorry. And much of what I have written may mean nothing to you. HOWEVER, All these things are very special, and one small part of the Chinese culture I love, and don’t want to forget… so I write!
Every year I will celebrate Chinese New Year and Spring Festival with wonderful memories and send greetings and wish my dear friends and family a Happy New year with blessings of prosperity and health in the year ahead!
Today is another day to celebrate and because it is Chinese New Year, the first meal MUST be Jiaozi!