"story of chinese new year"
Chinese New Year In China, the New Year Season lasts for an entire month… The Chinese New Year season (also called the Spring Festival) doesn't begin and end on a single weekend. Instead, it runs from the middle of the last month of the previous year (based on the Chinese calendar) to the middle of the first month of the New Year. The Chinese calendar is a combination solar/lunar calendar, based on a number of rather complex astronomical calculations, including the longitude of the sun. Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice (all months begin with a new moon). In 2003 (year 4701 on the Chinese calendar) Chinese New Years falls on February 1st. At midnight at the turn of the old and new year, people used to let off fire- crackers which serve to drive away the evil spirits and to greet the arrival of the new year. In an instant the whole city would be engulfed in the deafening noise of the firecrackers. How did Chinese New Year come to be celebrated? According to an ancient legend, people were once tormented by a beast called a Nian - a ferocious creature with an extremely large mouth, capable of swallowing several people in a single bite. Relief from the Nian came only when an old man tricked the beast into disappearing. In reality, New Years festivities probably evolved from a desire to celebrate the end of winter and the fertility and rebirth that come with the spring, much like the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia. Today, New Years is about family reunions and wishing everyone good fortune in the coming year. Some traditional ways to celebrate Chinese New Year: Clean House - Before the New Year arrives, the Chinese consider it very important to give the house a thorough cleaning, sweeping away any bad luck that may have accumulated over the past year. Decorate! - Doors and window panes are also often painted red, considered to be a lucky color. In addition, people like to hang papercuts on doors and windows. (Paper cutting is an ancient Chinese art form dating back to the Han dynasty). Don't clean for the first few days of the New Year - if you do any sweeping during this time, you risk sweeping away your good luck. Offer a Sacrifice to the Kitchen God - Many families have a poster of the Kitchen God in their kitchen. The custom is to offer a ceremonial sacrifice to the Kitchen God, to make sure that he gives a good report on the family's behavior when he returns to heaven. Sticky Cake (Neen Gow) is popular, or children may rub honey on him. An important tradition on New Year's Eve is for families to gather together and spend the evening preparing jiaozi or boiled dumplings. According to Chinese Culture Guide Jun Shan, it is common to hide a coin in one of the dumplings. Whoever gets the dumpling with the coin will supposedly have good luck in the coming year. Give out money packets - On New Years day, children receive leisee - red packets decorated with gold symbols and filled with "lucky money". Serve festive foods - Throughout the New Years season, certain foods are served because they symbolize abundance and good fortune. Besides preparing special dishes, tangerines and oranges are often passed out to children and guests, as they symbolize wealth and good luck. Prepare a Tray of Togetherness - This is a circular tray with eight compartments, each containing symbolic foods such as lotus seeds and lychee nuts, that provides a sweet beginning to the New Year. Other Chinese Important Festivals Chinese New Year (First Lunar Day of the First Chinese Lunar Month) Lantern Festival (Fifteenth Lunar Day of the First Chinese Lunar Month) Dragon Boat Festival (Fifth Lunar Day of the Fifth Chinese Lunar Month) Chinese Valentine's Day (Seventh Lunar Day of the Seventh Chinese Lunar Month) MidAutumn or Mooncake Festival (Fifteenth Lunar Day of the Eighth Chinese Lunar Month)