China’s biggest holiday, the Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is the most important of all China’s holidays. It is also known as Spring Festival (Chun Jie) or Chinese New Year.
Lunar New Year begins usually between late January and early February. In 2022 it will be on February 1. The official celebrations in mainland China last seven days and are a holiday.
The family dinner is a central event at New Year’s Eve. The selection of dishes is a reflection of family customs, local culinary traditions and cultural influences. It includes many dumplings and spring rolls as well as cakes, fish, and pork dishes. A lot of alcohol is consumed, particularly traditional wines and liquors. The dishes have symbolic meanings. To bring good luck , some dumplings have been shaped like gold ingots.
Another custom associated with New Year celebrations is the gifting of envelopes that contain money by older members of the family to younger ones. The color red, which also appears prominently in New Year decorations and is associated with prosperity, represents good fortune.
Families and communities have traditionally used firecrackers as a way to celebrate the New Year and keep monsters away. Legend has it that the practice originated from a creature called Nian, who was believed to be causing harm to certain villages. The practice was spread by villagers who allegedly started explosions in order to scare away the monster. has recently cracked down against this practice because it is dangerous and polluting.
The Year of the Tiger
This year is the year of tiger. The tiger, in Chinese culture, is regarded as the most powerful of all animals and a symbol of strength, majesty and courage.
According to Chinese Zodiac Signs, each lunar year is associated with an animal. The cycle repeats every 12 years. There are 12 animals that represent each year of the cycle. The animals are the rat (ox), tiger (tiger), rabbit, dragon (snake), horse, goat, monkey and dog.
One of the most popular myths surrounding the origins and development of the Chinese Zodiac is the one that describes a race which was initiated by the Jade Empire, ruler of heaven to measure the time. The rat was the winner of the race and therefore ranked first amongst the 12 zodiacal animals. The order of the 11 other animals reflected the final positions in the race.
Each of the twelve zodiac creatures came to be associated with certain traits that were believed to influence the personalities of people born in the respective years. The tiger’s positive traits can be mixed with its negative characteristics, including a tendency to be careless or ambitious.
Origins of the Lunar Calendar
The Chinese have traditionally followed their lunar calendar which is based upon observations and measurements made of astronomical phenomenon. While China officially adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1912, many traditional festivals, like the New Year, continue to follow the lunar calendar.
The origins of Chinese New Year celebrations may also be attributed to the legendary Xia dynasty, which ruled between 2070 and 1600 B.C. The origins for the New Year celebrations also are not completely clear. Some scholars believe that they go back to the Shang Dynasty, which ruled from 1600 B.C. to 1050 B.C.
Religion and the New Year’s Gala
The New Year celebrations include religious observances as well as family-oriented rituals. There are also rituals that focus on the home, associated with popular Chinese gods such as the God of the Kitchen and the God Of Wealth. Families also participate in rituals and make offerings related to ancestor adoration. These include the burning of incense and food offerings at home altars.
A Chinese woman burns incense before a temple. Papakon Mitsanit/Moment via Getty Images
Many people visit Buddhist and Taoist temples during this time, along with other places of worship. During this period, many people visit temples and other places of worship to practice traditional forms of piety. They offer incense or pray for good fortune and luck. In large temples, worshipers wait in long lines for hours to burn their first incense.
New Year’s Gala is a popular variety program that includes singing, dancing and comedy. Since 1983, CCTV, China’s national broadcaster, has broadcast the show to a nationwide audience. The most popular television program on the planet, it can have an audience of up to a billion people.
Largest human migration
In recent decades, China experienced dramatic demographic changes. This was mainly due to the migration from large rural populations to big urban centers. China’s One-Child Policy has also led to major changes in the family structure. Most families are only allowed to have one child. This makes each child the center of their attention and hopes for the entire family.
It has also had a profound impact on the traditional practices and customs. The significant changes in the family structure and functions are among the main drivers of this development. Many rural children live with relatives or grandparents while their parents are in distant cities.
The Lunar New Year is the time when the largest migration of people has ever occurred. Millions of students and migrants are trying to return to their families and homes. Trains, buses, and planes will be packed during this time, so tickets should be purchased well in advance.
travel restrictions, as well as other stringent measures, have affected this year’s celebrations. The Chinese government is trying to contain the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Winter Olympics are also being held in China, and this will bring additional restrictions on the movement of people. This is due to the increased emphasis placed on preventing any incidents that could negatively reflect China’s international image.
A Chinese New Year parade. Puay ng / EyeEm via Getty Images
Celebrate Chinese New Year outside China
Other parts of Asia celebrate the Lunar New Year, such as Vietnam and Singapore, as well as other places around the world. These celebrations are often unique or have a local flavor. In Vietnam, the Tet festival, which is celebrated with various local dishes and parades, is also marked by public performances.
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Every year, Chinese New Years festivals, and parades, are held in the U.S., Australia and cities like San Francisco, New York, and Sydney where there is a large ethnically Chinese population. Several of these festivals feature traditional Dragon Dances that highlight the communal nature of New Year celebrations.
The New Year’s celebrations have been an important part of Chinese culture for centuries. They connect the past with the present, wherever they may be.