Posted by Dror Poleg on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at 8:54 AM
Chinese New Year, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year or the Chinese Spring Festival, is one of the traditional Chinese holidays. Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered to be the most important holiday for the Chinese as well as ethnic groups such as the Mongolians, Koreans, the Miao and the Vietnamese, who were influenced by Chinese culture in terms of religious and philosophical worldview, language and culture in general. Chinese new year is also the time when the largest human migration takes place when Chinese all around the world return home on Chinese New Year eve to have reunion dinner with their family.
When is Chinese New Year celebrated?
Chinese New year is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, which falls on the day of the second new moon after the day on which the winter solstice occurs, unless there is an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year. In this case, the Chinese New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice. The next time this occurs is in 2033.
The New Year season lasts fifteen days. The first week is the most important and most often celebrated with visits to friends and family as well as greetings of good luck. The celebrations end on the important and colourful Lantern Festival on the evening of the 15th day of the month.
Chinese New Year Greetings and Traditions
The two most popular greetings during the Chiense New Year celebration season are (in Mandarin): “Gong Xi Fa Cai”, and “Xin Nian Kuai Le”. These roughly mean “Congratulations and be prosperous (financially)”, and “Happy New Year”.
Chinese New Year is celebrated with firecrackers (a fine Chinese invention), Chinese dragon dances and lion dances. A reunion dinner is held on Chinese New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far, get together for celebration.
Chinese New Year's day is also celebrated within the family. Usually family members gather on the morning of New Year's Day. At this gathering red packets are given to unmarried members of the family.
The second day of the Chinese New Year is usually for visiting the family of the wife if a couple is married. A large feast is also typically held on the second day of the Chinese New Year. The seventh day of the Chinese New Year celebration is traditionally everyone's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older. It is also the day when tossed fish salad, yusheng, is eaten. People get together to toss the colorful salad and make wishes for continued wealth and prosperity in the new year.
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