Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is China’s most important festival also known as Chinese New Year. It is time for families to be together and a week of an official public holiday.
This time February 12, 2021, beginning a year of the Ox. In China, the public holiday will be from February 11–17, 2021. The year 2021 is the Year of the Ox which is popular in Chinese astrology.
The Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) is important. For Chinese people, years begin at the Chinese Lunar New Year, rather than January 1! In the 2021 year of the Ox will start on February 12th.
Why is it called the Spring Festival?
Though being in winter for most of China, This New Year is popularly known as the Spring Festival in China. Because it starts from the Beginning of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coordination with the changes of Nature) and marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
The Spring Festival marks a new year on the lunar calendar and represents the desire for a new life.
History of the Chinese New Year
The festival has a history of over 3,000 years. Celebrations on Lunar New Year’s Day can be dated back to the ancient worship of heaven and earth. Over the centuries new traditions were added and celebrations became more entertainment-orientated.
In 1967 food was rationed, and there was no money! Greetings were full of Communist fervor. Now people eat out for Chinese New Year, send e-money, and greet with instant messages.
Chinese New Year Customs
The main Chinese New Year activities include
- Putting up decorations
- Eating reunion dinner with family on New Year’s Eve
- Firecrackers and fireworks
- Giving red envelopes and other gifts.
Chinese New Year Show
In many Chinese cities, from New Year’s Day, traditional performances can be seen. Dragon dances, lion dances, and imperial performances like an emperor’s wedding.
A great variety of traditional Chinese products are on offer, and rarely seen Chinese snacks. City parks and temple fairs are the places to go for this.
Lucky Red Items
Every street, building, and the house where Spring Festival is celebrated is decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as red is believed to be an auspicious color.
Red Chinese lanterns hang in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity.
The most public decoration is done a month before, but home decoration is traditionally done on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
As 2021 will be a year of the Ox, decorations related to ox will be commonly seen.
Chinese New Year’s Eve
Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is a time for families to be together. Chinese New Year’s Eve is the most important time. Wherever they are, people are expected to be home to celebrate the festival with their families.
This Eve dinner is called ‘reunion dinner’, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year.
Firecrackers and Fireworks
It has long been a Chinese tradition to set off firecrackers from the first minute of their new year. Fireworks have increasingly been added to the cacophony.
From public displays in major cities to millions of private celebrations in China’s rural areas, setting off firecrackers and fireworks is an indispensable festivity.
Like at Christmas in other countries, people exchange gifts during the Spring Festival. In rural areas and for older people the New Year gift-giving tradition is still strong, but increasingly younger people prefer just to receive red envelopes (by hand or electronically).
At New Year red envelopes are customary in China. The most common New Year gifts are red envelopes. Red envelopes have money in them and are believed to bring good luck because they are red.
They are given to children and retirees. Customarily only employers give red envelopes to working adults.
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