According to the Chinese calendar, the Chinese New Year is celebrated on the second new moon following the beginning day of the Winter solstice. For the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese New Year is likely to be on a date between January 21 and February 20.
The New Year season continues for fifteen days. The celebrations are concluded with the colorful Lantern Festival.
Origin of the Festival
It is not clear when the beginning of the year was celebrated before the Qin Dynasty. Different theories suggest the beginning of Chinese New Year in different times. Some consider month 1 during the Xia Dynasty, whereas others take month 11 at the time of the Zhou Dynasty to be the beginning. However, in 104 B.C., Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty established the beginning of the year at month 1. The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the dates of the Chinese New Year.
Celebrations during Chinese New Year
In China, people take weeks off from work and get ready for the New Year celebrations. People thoroughly clean their homes and it is strongly believed that cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the previous year to bring in good luck. Some paint their doors and windows red. People visit friends and relatives, known as new-year visits and wear new clothes.
This is a great time for reunion dinners. The dinner of New Year s Eve includes delicious fish and chicken items. Most of the Northerners serve dumplings as the main dish because they symbolize ancient Chinese gold ingots. The fruit of the Chinese New Year are the popular mandarin oranges.
The color of the season is red as it resembles celebration and it is used predominantly in all the decorations. The married elders distribute red packets to children and juniors. The flowers used during this season are the peach blossoms, chrysanthemum and the narcissus.
Naming a Chinese New Year after an animal
Legend says that in the ancient age, Lord Buddha asked all the animals to come to him on Chinese New Year day. Twelve animals came and a year was named after each of them. It is believed that a person born in a particular animal year would have the personality of that animal.
The Chinese New Year celebrations end on the fifteenth day of the month. The lanterns are works of art and are painted with animal, flowers, zodiac signs, birds and scenes from history. The lanterns glow in temples and are also paraded under the full moon.
The most important and longest celebration in the Chinese calendar is the Chinese New Year. The activities of the Chinese New Year symbolize good fortune, prosperity and wealth.