This week, millions of people will be celebrating the Chinese New Year. It will be marked by communities all over the world. People will eat lots of food, enjoy fireworks, wear special clothes and hang red lanterns to mark the occasion. Anyone being born during this year will mostly be optimistic and energetic in character. Chinese years are represented annually by a different animal, with 2020 being Year of the Rat. Anyone being born during this year will mostly be optimistic and energetic in character.
When is Chinese New Year celebrated?
Chinese New Year dates vary slightly between years but the festival usually falls between January 21 to February 20 in the Gregorian calendar. The 2020 Chinese New Year falls this Saturday, January 25, with Year of the Rat festivities lasting until Saturday, February 8.
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival. It is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of 12 animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. So the animals will have a year dedicated to them once every 12 years, in a cycle.
How is Chinese New Year celebrated?
When you hear about Chinese New Year, the event is usually associated with mostly fireworks and food. Chinese New Year is actually a wonderful celebration of culture and life. It has a billion celebrators from all around the world. This year marks to be the year of the rat. Let’s see what does the meaning of rat entails in the Chinese New Year.
The Year of the Rat also has an elemental symbol assigned to the occasion according to a 12-year cycle, with five elements in total: Earth, Water, Fire, Metal, and Wood. 2020 is also part of the Metal cycle, making it a Metal Rat Year, which occurs only once every 60 years. The year in which you were born is also considered to determine the number of factors in your life, including lucky numbers and flowers.
The year in which a person is supposedly born is thought to affect the way a person should decorate their house, with various colours and geographical directions capable of providing prosperity.
Before the festivals start to begin, people clean their homes really well to make them ready for the celebrations.
Then, when New Year’s Day comes next door, then there is also a tradition not to pick up a broom, in case you sweep the good luck for the New Year out of your door.
Importance of Chinese New Year’s fireworks:
- China is famous for being the creator of fireworks, and the country remains the largest producer of them. China does not export all of them, meaning it has one of the largest fireworks displays in the world on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
- Originally, exploding bamboo, or pao chuk, was used during Chinese New Year because when bamboo is lit on fire, the wood expands and eventually bursts with a bang. When the black powder was invented, it was stuffed into the bamboo for an even louder and brighter explosion.
- Eventually, paper casings replaced bamboo to make firecrackers, which quite literally exploded in popularity and are used all over China to celebrate Chinese New Year. However, due to the dangers posed by irresponsible use of firecrackers, there have been unpopular moves in the past few years to start banning the sale of fireworks.
Chinese New Year Dinner:
- Over the 15 days of festivities, Chinese New Year is bombarded with various traditions, from the opening fireworks to the closing Lantern Festival. However, the most important ritual of all takes place the night before the new year.
- The annual reunion dinner sees multiple generations of a family gather together. Often, the meal comprises eight different dishes, because the number eight is a symbol of prosperity in China.
- Eateries include chicken, pork, fish, noodles, and dumplings are eaten.