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.
Chinese Lunar New Year, the deities of the Heaven and Earth are welcomed. Traditionally people refrain from non-vegetarian food on the first day of the Chinese New Celebration, which supposedly would protract their lives.
Family members come together to pray in the name of their ancestors and Gods. The dogs, on the second day of the Chinese New Year jamboree are particularly treated well.
The son-in-laws as per traditions pay their reverence to their parents-in-law.On the fifth day of the Chinese New Year celebrations, family members remain home to welcome the God of Wealth. This day is called Po Woo.
The Chinese are free to visit their dear ones along with the holy places to pray for good life.
On the seventh day of New Year festival, farmers exhibit their farm produce. These farmers make noodles and soup out of seven vegetables to rejoice this occasion.
On the eighth day of celebration, the Fijians have a family get-together over their meals and at mid-night the God of Heaven, Tian Gong is prayed.
On the ninth day, the people, honor Jade Emperor by making special offerings to him.
From 10th to 12th associates and relatives are invited for dinner. But on the 13th day simple rice congee and mustard greens (choi sum) is prepared to purify the system.
On the fourteenth day preparations are undertaken to celebrate the Lantern Festival held on the fifteenth night.
Chinese New Year Parade is a rich and vivid pageantry of Chinese customs and beliefs. In China, the New Year is draped in traditions and ceremonies.
The Chinese New Year Parade in a true sense reflects the essence of those deep rooted rituals which resembles the immortality of phoenix rising again on its ashes. As we all know that China has a wondrous and awe-inspiring history of five thousand years and Chinese take pride in their cultural heritage.
The Chinese New Year Parade is a mix of dynamic traditions and hence conveying a sense of revival, regeneration and revitalization.
The Chinese New Year Parade is blend of typical American marching processions and the traditional Lantern Festival of China. Although the dragon dance is a symbol of the Chinese celebration, the rest of the Chinese New Year Parade, including the beauty pageant with elaborate costumes, floats, and marching bands, is inspired by non-Chinese culture.
The origin of the Parade can be traced back to those times when early Chinese immigrants developed a feel of community through neighborhood connections.
Chinese New Year Music plays an important part in the celebrations and excitement engulfing the festival of Chinese New Year.
Traditionally the Chinese considered that sound influences the harmony of the universe. In China, the New Year is not just about merriment but also a time of reflecting on the rituals and customs. Chinese New Year Music is the collection of vocal and instrumental music created and played by Chinese people.
In Chinese music, the single tone is of greater importance than melody. Musical instruments are categorized into eight classes according to the substances from which they are made.
The eight classes are gourd, bamboo, wood, silk, clay, metal, stone and skin. Usually Chinese New Year music is played on traditional instruments, especially Chinese drums.
Some of the popular music for New Year celebrations are "Chinese New Year Music", "Dancing Dragon and Phoenix", "Deng Li Jun's Happy New Year Album" and many more musical items to usher in the New Year.
There are different myths about the origin of the lion dance but none of them have any real historical records. According to one of the legends many years ago there was a lion which appeared in a village and caused harm to the people and domestic animals.
A Kung-Fu expert came to know of this and went into the forested mountain to fight with the lion. He fought with the lion on three occasions but was unable to win over it.
So he trained some of the villagers in Kung-Fu with the intention to kill the lion. A few months later, they went up to the mountain again and killed the lion.
The villagers, in order to rejoice this occasion of the victory over evil, followed the steps of those who fought with the lion and thus the much popular lion dance came into being.
Another saying was that the King of China, the Ching of the Ching Dynasty had seen a lion dance in one of his dreams and he then ordered the guards of the palace to dance in accordance with what he had seen in his dreams after he woke up.
The lion in the dance is enacted by two dancers. One of the dancers handles the head, made out of strong yet light materials like paper-mache and bamboo. The other dancer plays the body and the tail under a cloth that is fixed to the head. The lion is attended by three musicians, playing cymbals, large drum and a gong.
A Little Buddha teases it with a fan or a big ball. The head dancer can shift the lion's eyes, mouth and ears for different expression of moods.
The lion dance is a perfect blend of art, history and kung fu moves. Normally the dancers are kung fu practitioners. Every kind of move in the dance has a specific musical rhythm.
The music played is in the sync with the moves of the lion: the drum follows the lion where as the cymbals and the gong follows the drum player.
Thus flamboyantly vivid and wickedly energetic, the brilliant lion dance bears witness to the vibrant richness of Chinese heritage.
Chinese New Year Masks display the feelings and emotions of merriment associated with the festival. Chinese New Year Masks are made of varied materials including cloth, paper, grass, leather, metal, shell, and carved of stone or wood.
They are painted with Chinese symbolic designs and vivid colors. Some masks have realistic human or animal features like lion or dragon, while others provide a grotesque appearance.
Red is considered as a lucky color for Chinese people, therefore there are lots of red masks worn during the celebrations of New Year. Chinese New Year Masks are amongst the best creations in the art world and are highly sought after by art collectors.
Many of the masks or some of its replica can be viewed in museums and art galleries in many parts of the world
There are many opinions regarding the importance of Chinese New Year Firecrackers. One popular belief is that the noise will wake up the dragon that will fly across the sky to bring the spring rain for the crops.
Another belief is that the exploding noise of the firecrackers will scare away all evil spirits and misfortunes, preventing them from coming into the New Year.
In the Chinese New Year Parade, it is customary to throw firecrackers at the feet of the dragons in the parade to keep them awake for the celebration. Around the dragon dance in the parade, lots and lots of firecrackers are set off to they drive away the evil spirits.