The Chinese New Year is a joyous festival and is celebrated by the people of China with pomp and gaiety. It is one of the biggest festivals in China and is also known as the "Spring festival" in modern Mainland China as it marks the arrival of Spring. The dates of the Chinese New Year are according to the Chinese calendar, which is a Lunar calendar. The Chinese have 12 animal zodiac signs and each new year is represented by an animal. In 2018, the Chinese New Year will begin on February 16, Friday. 2018 will be dedicated to the Year of Dog and will symbolize Luck.
Spread over a period of 15 days, the festival will witness fun and frolic. People get seven consecutive holidays on the Chinese New Year and use it to the fullest by indulging in festivities and merry making. Family gatherings and annual reunion dinners are arranged to celebrate the festival with full fervor and enthusiasm. Often friends and other acquaintances are invited to these dinners. The streets and houses are beautifully decorated, prayers are held, and gifts are exchanged to mark the festivities. The warmth of love and happiness is seen all around.
Days before the New Year celebrations, the Chinese take an off from work to prepare for the upcoming festivities. Such is the importance of this particular festival! They clean their homes to get rid of previous year's bad luck and cook meals before the New Year begins because killing animals on New Year's Day is considered to bring misfortune.
An important custom on New Year's eve is the family reunion dinner called 'Nian Ye Fan' which includes a sumptuous feast. Dumplings and glutinous rice cakes are popular dishes.
According to ancient Chinese history, the New Year was celebrated to honor Gods and ancestors. During this time in China, one will see a lot of red colored embellishments, Chinese paper cut-outs and couplets hanging on walls and doors. Firecrackers are also lit during the Chinese New Year.
There is a certain legend behind all these decorations. It is said that a beast called Nian used to come on the first day of New Year and eat people in villages. To frighten the monster, villagers began hanging red lanterns outside their homes and lighting fireworks. Following this, Nian never troubled them.
As many of you would know, every Chinese New Year is associated with one of twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac.
These include the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. But do you know how this came to be? Although there have been many explanations, a popular one is that when Lord Buddha asked all animals to meet him on New Year's Day, only twelve showed up. He then named each year after every animal.
2018 - the Year of the Dog
Lucky numbers: 3, 4 and 9
Lucky flowers: Rose, cymbidium orchids
Lucky direction: east, south, and northeast
Lucky months: 2nd, 5th, and 11th Chinese lunar months
Lucky days: 6th, 10th, and 12th Chinese lunar months
Lucky colors: Red, green, and purple
Unlucky colors: blue, white, gold
Unlucky numbers: 1, 6, and 7
Unlucky direction: southeast
Worst lunar months: 5th, and 8th Chinese lunar months
Chinese New Year is the longest Chinese Holiday.
During Chinese New Year, when you serve, ensure surplus.
No cleaning of house on New Year eve and Day, it is believed that if we clean the house good fortune may be swept.
In Chinese New Year, Firecrackers ward of the Mythical beast Nian.
The color red is very important in Chinese New Year tradition, as it symbolizes fire and is believed to ward off evil spirits.
This Chinese New Year's Day, spend some time in decorating your home to give it a fresh look, and make a new beginning as you welcome the year of the dragon. Here is an overview of what Chinese New Year decorations you can use.
It is a tradition to adorn the houses with blooming plants and flowers that are a symbol of growth and prosperity. The flowers used widely during this occasion are plum blossoms which are arranged with bamboo and pine springs.
This reflects the family gatherings that are organized on such occasions. The bamboo is the symbol of compatibility between two or more people.
Evergreen pine plants are also used for decorations, as they symbolize longevity. You can use plants like water lily, peony, and azalea to give your home a completely different look.
With occurrence of new moon on the first day of the New Year, begins the celebrations of The Chinese New Year that lasts for fifteen days. The Chinese New Year festival is a celebrated among the family members. It is seen as an occasion of family get together and thanksgiving.According to the Chinese customary, a religious ritual is held as a tribute to the Heaven and Earth that are considered to be the Gods and Savior of the family and ancestors. During this occasion, a sacrifice is made given to honors the ancestors and deceased members of the family.Find more...
Lion Dance Song
(to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb")
See the lion dance and prance,
Dance and prance, dance and prance.
See the lion dance and prance
On Chinese New Year's Day.
Hear the firecrackers pop,
Hear the firecrackers pop
On Chinese New Year's Day.
On Chinese New Year's Eve, people clean their homes with the belief that it will help them get rid of bad luck and get the house ready to accept good luck in the year ahead.
The Chinese decorate their doors and windows with signs and posters having the word "fu" engraved on them, which means good luck and happiness.
Flowers are also used to adorn the homes, as they indicate the coming of spring.
200 g butter
500 g sticky rice flour
200 g black sesame powder
250 g sugar
1 tsp wine
Water, as needed
Blend the butter with sesame powder, sugar, and wine and heat the mixture a little bit
Make small balls from the mixture. Take 1/2 cup of sticky rice flour.
Pour water into the flour and make flattened dough.
Cook the dough in boiled water and then after taking the dough out let it cool down.
Then place it in the rest of the sticky rice flour. Pour water and knead until the dough is smooth.
Make the dough into small pieces.
Shape it like a ball by hands first and then make a hole in the ball.
Then add the sesame ball into it and close it up.
Cook them in boiled water and keep stirring in one direction while cooking.
When they start floating on the water, continue to boil for one minute in less heat.
You can choose the red lanterns that come with pictures of Chinese characters and animals like the dragon or rabbit.
You should choose based on the animal represents that particular year in the Chinese zodiac calendar. Lanterns with floral motifs are a good choice for Chinese New Year gifts, as well.
With Chinese New Year knocking your door, keep no stone unturned to invite luck and prosperity in your life as you prepare for a blast in your party. Put on your thinking caps and host a party that thrills your guests and opens the floodgate of good fortune for you in the New Year.Find more...
Last Updated: 6th February, 2018