China has a culture dating back to 5000 years. The Chinese people have a unique culture which is followed by all and sundry. Chinese Lunar new year is celebrated every year between the months of February and March.These celebrations are also called the spring festivals. With the Chinese Zodiac signs, each year is represented by a different sign. You might ask yourself when is Chinese New Year this year 2018? Let us go back to the background of the whole Chinese New Year information and try to understand the whole concept altogether.
Background information on the Chinese New Year
According to historically documented information, more than 4000 years ago an emperor Shun led his ministers and subjects worship the heaven and the earth. He, therefore, regarded the first day of the Lunar month in the Chinese calendar as the Chinese New Year.China then adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1911, so Chinese New Year has renamed the Spring Festival or Chunjie as their new year.
Symbols of the Chinese New Year
Each new year is represented by a Zodiac animal sign. There are twelve Chinese zodiac signs each represented by an animal. These animals include Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig in that order. Do you remember the movie Zodiac by Jackie Chan? It explains a lot about the zodiac signs. This year is the year of the dog. The last time that was the year of the dog was 2006 and the time it will be in the year 2030. People born in the year of the dog are believed to possess the following have the following characteristics;
For Men they are believed to have the following unique characteristics;
- straightforward and genuine.
- They are energetic in everything they do, though they’re more of glass half empty kind of people.
- Have strong opinions about others always ready to correct others when given a chance and defend their stance. They don’t believe in the saying let a sleeping dog lie.
- They possess a deep care for their family. They compromise any given situation just to have a more functional and harmonious family life.
For Women, they are believed to have the following unique characteristics;
- cautious. They don’t happen to trust people easily especially strangers but once they give you the trust it is permanent.
- They have a strong sense of protectiveness for their friends and families.
- They possess a sense of being independent.
- They are introverts and never pass on an opportunity of being in nature.
- Seem to work like bees and have to succeed at all cost. Have a never give up kind of attitude.
- Their careers are of utmost importance to them. With a stable income, they always feel all has been taken care of.
The red posters with poetic verses on them hanging on the doors and walls of the Chinese were initially a type of amulet, but now it simply means good fortune and joy.The Chinese New Year is also associated with various symbols which express different meanings. For example, a fish symbol meaning “having plenty or bounty for the year”. A firecracker meaning “good luck in the coming year”. The festival lanterns symbolize “pursuing the bright and the beautiful”.
Difference between the Western New Year and Chinese New Year
Unlike the Western New Year which is celebrated in January 1st each year and mostly starting on the eve of 1st which is basically on 31st, Chinese New Year is celebrated on the months of February each year with the dates changing depending on the Lunar Calendar. Western New Year has always associated with pomp and colour and celebrations with families and friends but for the Chinese New Year it is a combination of all that but spreads for a week at most. This is the time people go back to their respective homes and enjoy the end of year’s hard work with families mostly.
Preparations for the Chinese New Year
Preparations for the Chinese New Year are always very hectic with families getting together and travelling at its peak. This is the period when the largest number of travellers in the world are seen to move across China to be with their families for the celebrations. Almost a billion people traverse across China for the celebrations.
When is Chinese New Year? The festival popularly known as spring festivals is celebrated around Middle and late February. If you have been in China you will be able to attest to the glamour that comes with the festivals. This will be a story of another day.
How the Chinese New Year was Celebrated throughout China
This Lunar year just like other years, there was pomp and colour with streets decorated with red flowers and lights which are a sign of good luck.
Doors of homesteads and houses are also posted with red posts with happy signs (福）meaning happy.
On the eve of the First day of the New Year, People will burn paper money to their deceased relatives to give them some warmth as a tradition passed from one generation to another.
This festivities last for a period of seven days and is usually a family gathering and time for family and friends to come together and wish each other the best in the coming year.
Remember to join me in my next article as we will be talking about how families get together, what people eat and the activities during the seven day Chinese New Year period.