Chinese New Year – 春节

On February 1, the year of the Bull ended and the year of the Tiger began. The traditional Chinese New Year does not have a fixed date and is calculated according to the lunar calendar. It is celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice, so the date changes every year, but it usually takes place between January 21 and February 21.

 

Chinese New Year Celebrations

The whole family should gather to have a festive dinner. In this, European Christmas, our New Year, and Chinese New Year are similar — these magical holidays unite relatives. All the members of the family are expected to return home for Chinese New Year’s Eve, even those who work or live far away. A huge migration of a billion people takes place before and after these holidays, and it’s nearly impossible to buy train or plane tickets!

Chinese people have a sort of special respect for the dishes served on this occasion. Many of them have a symbolic meaning, that invites good luck and blessing into the house. Fish is a must-have dish on every New Year’s table, in Chinese 鱼 (“yú”) “fish” is consonant with the word “excess”. The Chinese believe that eating fish dishes will bring profit and prosperity. Other traditional dishes, like 饺子 (“jiǎozi”) “dumplings”, symbolize the farewell to last year, and 饭团 (“fàntuán”) “rice balls”, the unity of the family.

New Year’s Eve festive night ends with fireworks and firecrackers. In the early morning of the next day, children congratulate their parents, wishing them health and a happy New Year, and in return, they receive wishes for future success and money in red paper envelopes (“hóngbāo”) “red envelope”.

 

Chinese New Year’s colour: red

According to an ancient myth, an evil monster named Nyan (nián) comes on the first day of the New Year to devour cattle, food supplies, and sometimes even villagers. One day, people understood that the monster was afraid of noise and red colour. Since then, every year, people enjoy festive lanterns 赏花灯 (“shǎng huādēng”), hang 年画 (“niánhuà”) “Christmas patterns”, and antithetical couplets 对联(“duìlián”) “paired inscription” red paper with wishes that have hung on the doors, and light 鞭炮 (“biānpào”) “fireworks”.According to the Chinese, these traditions scare away the monster.

 

Chinese New Year across the planet

Chinese New Year has become a truly international holiday uniting people on all continents, as the festival and its traditions have a significant influence. Similar New Year’s events are held in countries culturally or geographically close to China (Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Tibet etc.). In addition, the Lunar New Year, thanks to the Chinese abroad, is celebrated all over the world.

 

New words: 生 (shēngcí)

鱼 (“yú”) “fish”
饺子 (“jiǎozi”) “dumplings”
饭团 (“fàntuán”) “rice balls”
红包 (“hóngbāo”) “red envelope”
赏花灯 (“shǎng huādēng”) “to enjoy admire festive lanterns”
对联(“duìlián”) “antithetical couplet”
鞭炮 (“biānpào”) “fireworks”

 

Author of the article: Akzhan Laoshi

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