Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is almost the biggest festival in a year that everyone would celebrate in China. It goes according to the Chinese lunar calendar, which is still of importance in China, as some people would calculate their birthdays and ages by the lunar calendar too.
Things you may not know
The Spring Festival was originally a day to pray to gods for good planting and harvest season or people prayed to their ancestors.
Every year has a zodiac animal, and the Chinese New Year marks a transition between these zodiac signs. The year 2021 is the year of Ox and every 12-year is a circulation.
The Spring Festival causes the largest human migration in the world. Every Chinese domestically or overseas are supposed to come back home and reunite with their families.
Traditionally, the celebrations last up to 16 days, with the first 7 days considered as a public holiday.
How to Celebrate
According to legend, people set firecrackers in New Year’s Eve to fight against the monster which is named Nian‘年’, the same pronunciation as the word ‘year’ in Chinese, and they used firecrackers again to welcome a new year and good luck. (The tradition of setting firecrackers has been restricted in China in recent years due to safety reasons and concerns for air pollution).
Chinese decorate everything in red such as red lanterns, red paper arts on windows, and the spring couplets with one half vertically on each side of a door to express the best wishes for the coming year.
Children receive pocket money in a red envelope which helps transfer the fortune from the elders. However, digital red pockets gained popularity recently and people like to send one in group chats for everyone to ‘snatch’ it.
Unlike the popular belief, eating dumplings is actually more of a northern tradition in China. In the South, people would eat spring rolls or balls of glutinous rice in soup called Tangyuan, the pronunciation of which similar to the word reunion in Chinese.
What does the Spring Festival mean to me?
In my childhood, the New Year for me is long holidays, affluency (with red packet), lots and lots of snacks, inexhaustible playing time and no criticism even when I did wrong things.
As I grow up, the most important meaning of New Year for me is reunion and refreshment. It is not only a time for me to come back home to see my family and meet some old friends, but also a rare opportunity for us to closely communicate and recall the passing year together as well as making best wishes for a new year.
It is the beginning and perhaps the happiest moment throughout the year.