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What Is Chinese New Year?

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Maya is fascinated by cultural etiquette and likes knowing how to make a good impression wherever she goes!

We have all heard about the famous Chinese New Year, but there are some details that you may not have known about it. Well, in this article we are going to discover many things related to this famous holiday.



Definition.

Chinese New Year or also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar chinese calendar. In China and in some other Asian countries that celebrate this festival, is commonly referred to as Spring Festival as it marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring according to the lunisolar calendar.

Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days during this time people visist their families and friends. Families do their best each year to reunite at home and spend this celebration toguether.

Chinese New Year is celebrated every year around January and February depending on the year, as I said before it is according to the lunisolar calendar, wich means that every year the date of the celebration changes.



Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in China, this celebration is really famous not only in China but also in Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, Singapore, Macau, and more other countries from Asia as well as Chinatowns all around the world.

One sixth of the world's population celebrate it.



The Origin Of Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year has a history of over 3600 years. Its exact beginning is unknown, some people say that it originated in the Shang Dinasty (1600-1046 BC), since at that time people held a lot of sacrificial ceremonies, attributing their food, clothes and harvest in honor of gods and ancestors, at the beginning and end of each year, to pray for blessings and peace in their lifes.

The date of the ceremony wasn't fixed till the Han Dinasty (202 BC - 220 AD), when emperor Wudi gave the order to use the lunar calendar.

The festival date changes every year, since it follows the lunar calendar that it is based on the movement of the moon.



The Chinese Horoscope.

You may have heard of Chinese Horoscope or Chinese Zodiac Animals, or possibily you've never heard of them. I will explain what they have to do with Chinese New Year. Well, apparently in china each lunar cycle has 60 years and 12 years are considered a small cycle. Each of the 12 years is represented by an animal.

The 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals are:

Rat, Ox, Tiguer, Rabbit, Dragon ( is the only fictitious creature in the 12 Zodiac Animals ), Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

2020 was the year of the Rat, 2021 is the year of the Ox, 2022, year of the Tiguer, 2023, year of the Rabbit, and so on, in the same order I named them above.



What Does The Color Red Mean?

You may have wondered why almost everything is red in Chinese New Year, what does this color mean?

According to the Chinese tradition, the color red symbolizes good fortune prosperity, vitality, energy and celebration.

The color red is very influential in Asian cultures especially in China, because it seems that most of Chinese adjectives that carry the ''red'' charater (''hòng'') have a positive meaning.

And obviously in a celebration where family members and friends reunite with each other and everyone is happy and wishing a prosperous new year full of good fortune, the color red plays a very important role in the New Year and in almost all chinese celebrations.



The Meaning Of The Red Envelope.

In Chinese (and other Asian) societies a red envelope (hòngbāo) is a monetary gift presented at social and family meetings or gatherings such as graduations, weddings or holidays like Chinese New Year.

The envelope has to be red, because as we said previously, the color red is a symbole of good fortune, vitality, good luck, etc.

The bills contained in the envelope, are normally new instead of old dirty bills.

It is normal to see long queues outside of banks and ATM machines before Chinese New Year, because everyone wants to get clean and presentable bills.

Red envelopes are always given from oldest to youngest either in age or position.



There are other things related to Chinese New Year to talk about that are quite interesting, such as food, superstitions and much more, but I have tried to focus on the most basic and important about this holiday as well as I have tried to be summarized.

Anyway I will try to talk more in depth about the Chinese New Year in another article later.

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