Chinese New Year
China is a country of traditions and superstitions. It is not surprising that the Chinese New Year is celebrated with numerous and mysterious rituals. And you won’t meet Santa Claus there.
New Year’s Festival linked with an interesting myth about the mysterious beast called Nian. On the first day of the New Year monster was particularly hungry and could eat cattle, the villagers and their children. So people left food in front of their houses to make him kinder. Nian, as it turned out, was afraid of the red color, so people began to wear red clothes and hang red lanterns in the streets to scare him.
There is also a tradition to bring 2 tangerines when you go to your friends and relatives and hosts give you two others. It turns out that in the Chinese language, the phrase “a couple of tangerines” sounds exactly like the word “gold”. This tradition is about 3 thousand years old.
Chinese calendar is based on the cycle of the moon while the western calendar – on the sun’s cycle. So the days are counted differently.
Chinese years are grouped in sets of 12 and each year honors a different animal. If you are born under the animal that’s being honored, you are sure to have an eventful and lucky year!
Chinese people call the New Year’s celebration the ‘Spring Festival’. It is a time to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new.
It originally lasted for about 4 weeks, but now it only lasts for 3 -5 days.
For Chinese people the dragon is a symbol of strength, good luck and supernatural forces. As part of the parade, people dress up in bright dragon costumes and dance down the streets. Dragons are brought to life by at least 20 people and may be 100 feet long! Men and boys perform intricate dragon dances with one person manipulating the head of the dragon and the rest moving the body.
Lions are supposed to bring good luck, too. The Lion Dance is performed by two ‘dancers’: one at the head and one at the tail of the lion.
A Chinese New Year celebration would not be complete without fireworks. The noise of the fireworks is supposed to scare away all evil spirits and misfortunes, preventing them from coming into the New Year.
Traditions and Superstitions
Red is the traditional color of the New Year. It frightens away evil spirits and brings good luck! Chinese people decorate their houses with red lanterns and wear red clothes.
On New Year’s Eve, families gather together, but they never eat meat!
Firecrackers and fireworks are lit to scare away evil spirits at midnight.
In the morning children find red envelopes with sweets or money under their pillows.
You have to be happy, jolly and polite for 15 days after New Year’s Day!
On the first day of the New Year floors must not be swept, as any good fortune might be accidentally swept away.
It’s bad luck to use knives, scissors and any other sharp instruments on New Year’s Day.
What’s уour Chinese horoscope?
RAT (1972, 1984, 1996)
Say cheese! You’re attractive, charming and creative. When you get angry, you can really have sharp teeth!
OX (1973, 1985, 1997)
You’re smart, patient, and as strong as an — well, you know what. Though you’re a leader, you’d never brag.
TIGER (1974, 1986, 1998)
You may be a nice person, but no one should ever enter your room without asking — you might attack!
RABBIT (1975, 1987, 1999)
Your ambition and talent make you jump at opportunity. You also keep your ears open for gossip.
DRAGON (1976, 1988, 2000)
You’re on fire! Health, energy, honesty, and bravery make you a living legend.
SNAKE (1977, 1989, 2001)
You may not ssspeak often, but you’re very sssmart. You always seem to have a ssstash of cash.
HORSE (1978, 1990, 2002)
Being happy is your main goal. Everybody knows that you’re a smart and hard worker but your teacher may ‘ride’ you for talking too much.
SHEEP (1979, 1991, 2003)
Gentle as a lamb, you’re also artistic, compassionate and wise. You’re often shy.
MONKEY (1980, 1992, 2004)
You’re a clever problemsolver with an excellent memory.
ROOSTER (1968, 1981, 1993)
You crow about your adventures, but inside you’re really shy. You’re thoughtful, capable, brave and gifted.
DOG (1970, 1982, 1994)
Often the leader of the pack, you’re loyal and honest. You can also keep a secret.
PIG (1971, 1983, 1995)
Even though you’re courageous, honest and kind, you never hog all the attention.