As a young girl, I was always fascinated by Chinese New Year. I would read about the celebrations and often talked to some of my father’s graduate students about it and learned a great deal each time. She taught me that I was born in The Year of the Rat (1972) and In time, it became a tradition for me to celebrate it each year with friends and family at one of our wonderful local restaurants. As a mom, I love teaching my son about other cultures and introducing him to the many traditions that I have adopted over the years. My family is all over the globe and each bit of history and culture we bring to him, helps him understand an appreciate the wonderful flavor of cultures he is exposed to.
The Chinese New Year, known as the Lunar New Year is the 5th of February, 2019 this year.
It is the Year of the Pig. This Spring Festival is the most important Chinese Holiday of the year. The festival lasts for 15 days and is the longest Chinese Holiday tradition.
The date of Chinese New Year is based upon the lunisolar calendar. This takes into account both the phase of the moon as where in the solar calendar things are. It is tradition to spend most of the 15 day celebration at home with your family. Only on the 5th day do people venture out for the large community celebration. Children receive red envelopes with money from their elders. This is in hope that good fortune will transfer from the elders to the children. These envelopes and the practice of giving them are called ‘snatching red pockets”, qiang hongbao. Traditionally, you eat dumplings with every meal. While this isn’t always honored today, dumplings are usually still served for New Years Day.
Gods and Monsters.
Chinese New Year is a day for those celebrating to pray to the gods for an excellent harvest season, but it also a time to ask for the monsters of legend to be fought off. Once, long aga, a monster named Nian terrorized the people on New Years Eve. A brave young boy was said to have finally defeated Nian by flinging firecrackers at the monster. To this day, because of this story, firecrackers are a huge part of the New Years Celebration. This is, in fact, why people all over the world celebrate with fireworks on December 31st, the more traditional Gregorian New Years Eve.
However you celebrate Chinese New Year, we here at The Researcher’s Gateway wish you a happy and prosperous year full of good fortune and family.
Xin nian kuai le! (Happy New Year!)
Things that are taboo during New Year Celebrations
- No one says words like “death” or “sickness” or any other work of misfortune as it is considered very unlucky. This includes swearing.
- No one showers or shaves on New Year’s Day (the 5th day)
- Garbage and sewage are not disposed of on the 5th day, lest you toss out all good fortune with it accidentally.No cutting your hair before the 2nd day.
- Breaking things is considered a bad omen, or could chase the good fortune away.
- Arguing is also discouraged.