Xīn nián kuài lè! – Happy New Year
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday celebrated in China. Also known as the ‘Spring Festival’, it marks the end of Winter and welcomes in new beginnings and a fresh start.
Chinese New Year lasts approximately 21 days, a lot longer than the traditional Western version of the holiday. The New Year festivities begin with ‘Little Year’ on 17th January.
Little Year is a day of memorial and prayer ceremonies. It is also a day for preparation and often, people will sweep their houses in order to clear out any bad luck.
The 24th of the month is officially New Year’s Eve. The main celebration of this day is at the reunion dinner where families will gather for a feast and wait up for the New Year to roll in.
Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival officially begins on 25th January and lasts all the way until 4th February. It’s common for people to not clean their houses as this is meant to get rid of the good luck that the New Year has brought in.
The last part of the Chinese New Year celebrations is the Lantern Festival. This begins on 5th February and lasts for a total of 4 days with the actual festival happening on the 8th.
The Lantern Festival is celebrated by a variety of activities, with the main event being lighting and setting free lanterns. There are also performances such as the dragon and lion dances, and riddle lanterns, where people write riddles and jokes on their lanterns.
The Year of the Rat
2020 is the year of the Rat, the very first zodiac sign. According to Chinese legend and tradition, your zodiac animal can be used to determine your fortune for the year, much like Western horoscopes.
Legend tells us the Rat won a race against the other 11 animals by climbing on the back of an Ox.
This is why the Rat is the first zodiac animal. Those born in the year of the Rat are said to be “clever and quick thinkers” who are happy living a quiet and peaceful life.
Are you born in the year of the Rat? This includes anyone born in the years 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 and 2020.
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And why not take a look at our previous New Years posts!