Chinese New Year has a great history. Very similar to the
Western one it has it's traditions and rituals.
origin of the Chinese New Year is centuries old and is popularly
recognized as the Spring Festival with the celebration lasting
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.
Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family
affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration
was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given
in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and
the family ancestors.
Preparations begin a month in
advance when people start buying presents, decorations materials,
food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway, when Chinese
houses are cleaned from top to bottom to sweep away any signs
of bad luck. Doors and windowpanes are usually painted in
red. The doors and windows are then decorated with paper
cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and
longevity printed on them.
eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of
the event. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully
observed in everything from food to clothing. Dinner is usually
a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying good wishes.
Delicacies include prawns for liveliness and happiness; dried
oysters (ho xi) for all things good; and raw fish salad (yu
sheng) to bring good luck and prosperity; Fai-hai, an angel
hair-like seaweed for prosperity; and dumplings boiled in
water (jiaozi) signifying a long lost good wish for the family.
It is customary to wear something red to ward off evil spirits.
After dinner, the family plays games together or watch programming
about the New Year. At midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks.
the New Year day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao,
or Red Packet, takes place. This involves giving children
and unmarried adults money in red envelopes.
end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns,
a celebration of singing, dancing and lantern shows.
the celebrations may vary by region, the underlying message
is one of peace and happiness for family members and friends.