Celebrating Chinese New Year
Among all the celebrations that take place in Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year is considered to be the longest and the most significant one. The New Year date is not stable in China. In 2017, it is celebrated on January 28. This is so because the Chinese year is different from the Western calendar year as its months are defined by the moon, each beginning with the darkest day. The celebration of the New Year can last up to fifteen days, until the moon gets into its brightest phase. In order to get prepared to the holidays, Chinese people usually take special vacations that are likely to last for weeks.
The Main Peculiarities of Chinese New Year
Symbol Of An Animal
It is a well-known fact that there is a special cycle of twelve animal years in China. Each of those years is devoted to a certain animal. However, hardly anyone knows the origin of this cycle. There is a legend about Chinese horoscope and its emergence. Long, long ago, somewhere in the Celestial Empire, Buddha called a few animals to celebrate Chinese New Year with him. However, only twelve of them came and in order to reward them, Buddha named after each one a year. Then, he proclaimed that the year, when a person is born, would define this individual’s personality traits according to the symbol of the animal of the year.
It is a common experience to wear red color on Chinese New Year. However, not only clothes are likely to be red. Envelopes with presents, decoration toys, and even trees are colored in this way to symbolize fire that, according to the legend, scares away bad luck. If you raise your head up, just when the clock says it is Chinese New Year, you will see the red sky, full of sparkles, lights, and explosions. Previously, ancient Chinese used to light bamboo sticks, believing that they drive away evil spirits.
Chinese New Year is considered to be the main family holiday of the entire year. It gathers all the relatives at their homes and unites them at least for a New Year’s Eve. However, when the first Chinese immigrants moved to the USA, they had their families left in their motherland. In order to symbolize family reunion, Chinese-Americans invented the Lantern Festival. Nowadays, these lanterns can be real masterpieces, costing thousands dollars. The art can be really various – starting with animals, flowers, birds, and ending up with historical legends and pop stars. The festival is usually held on the last day of Chinese New Year.
During the lantern feast, there is one more peculiar event that is really worth seeing – dragon dance. Made of paper, silk and bamboo, an artificial dragon may stretch up to a few hundred feet long. It is held by a group of skillful young men, who perform the dance in the city streets. In the USA, where Chinese New Year has a shortened version, dragon dance is celebrated during the weekend and includes a parade. Despite the new elements are constantly added, Chinese New Year is still considered to be the commemoration of old traditions, customs, and memories.