Chinese New Year
Happy Chinese New Year!!!!
The year of Rooster:
The arrival of the year of Sheep will start January 28, 2017. Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.
Legend has it that "Nian", in fact, was the name of a vicious monster. It came out from the mountain only during the first 15 days of the new year to hunt people. Therefore, on that special night, people stayed indoor and prepared a special meal with their family, hoping to live through the night alive. One day, a wise man told the villagers that the "Nian" monster was afraid of color "red" and noises. Since that day, it has become the tradition to put red papers on your door and lid firecrackers during new year days to scare off the monster and celebrate a new beginning of their lives.
Perhaps more food is consumed during the new year celebration than any other time of the year!!! Some of the traditional dishes are:
You must prepare a whole fish for the new year eve dinner. However, you must not finish the fish and leave some to the next day (which will be the new year already). This is because in Chinese, the sound "fish" sounds just like "sur·plus". Therefore, by having a fish from this year to the next year symbolizes you will always have more than what you need.
a whole chicken (with head and tail) represents completeness.
Sticky rice cake (year-cake):
The name "year cake" represents good wishes that one will get promoted every year.
The mustard green,
which is known as chang-nian-cai 'long-year vegetable' in some dialects, naturally symbolizes good health and long life.
Dishes made with turnips
indicate good fortune because the name for turnips, cai-tou , also means 'good luck' in some dialects.
Dumplings is one of the most significant food for Chinese new year. Because their shape is similar to ancient Chinese gold and silver ingots, dumplings symbolize wealth.
The first day of the Lunar New Year is "the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth." People usually wear new clothes and greet everyone by saying "Gon Xi Fa Cai". And you must refrain from using foul languages or crying on this day to avoid bringing bad luck to yourself for the upcoming year.
On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. This is also the days for the sons-in-laws to pay respect to their parents-in-law.
This is the day you can take a break from the busy new year schedule. People usually sleep in late and go to bed early.
This is the day when "the God of Wealth" returns. So People usually get up early to welcome the god of fortune to their home.
Every business is closed during the first few days of the Chinese New Year. But on the 5th day, all business will reopen again for the first time in the new year. On the sixth to the 10th day, the Chinese visit their relatives and friends freely. They also visit the temples to pray for good fortune and health.
From day 6 to day 15, people continue with their visiting and greeting relatives and friends and praying at the temples.
The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.
The entire house should be cleaned before the new year day. Therefore, people often spend the weekend before the Chinese new year throwing junks and cleaning their houses.
This is always my favorite part about Chinese New Year. Traditionally red packets are handed out to younger generation by their parents, grand parents, relatives, and even close neighbors and friends during Chinese New Year.