Chinese New Year

As we already know, Chinese people do not celebrate New Year when the rest of the world does. 2018, in Chinese calendar, is the year of the Dog. And first day of 2018 aka first day of Dog year was celebrated on 16th of February.
Chinese New Year
Photo Credit: Photo: chinesenewyear2018.com

But why?


Different calendar

As we already know, Chinese people do not celebrate New Year when the rest of the world does. They never celebrate it on 1st of January. They do not have Christmas nor do they get time off when the rest of the world does (25th, 26th December, 31st December, 1st of Jan).

2018, in Chinese calendar, is the year of the Dog. And first day of 2018 aka first day of Dog year was celebrated on 16th of February.

The Chinese New Year follows a different calendar. They use the Chinese calendar which is different from what the other countries around the world use – Gregorian calendar. Also the Chinese people follow the Moon, their New Year starts with a new Moon. It also follows the Sun hence why it’s always between 3 and 5 weeks behind the international calendar (Gregorian).

All the above also explain why the Chinese New Year is celebrated on a different date every year instead of the same.

Chinese New Year is celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and in other countries neighbours with China (Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Malaysia etc). Even in London is a big festival.


Start of Spring

They call Chinese New Year “Spring festival” or “Start of Spring” — for them it makes sense to start the New Year when the new “beginning” starts, when Spring “is here” — when the soil is ready for farming and Winter is finished. Of course, all of these considering the moon and the sun.

And it kind of makes sense don’t you think?

Every year has 4 seasons if we judge by calendar and not the weather or global warming: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. But we always start the new year during the Winter season (of the former year) so if we look at this by analysing the solar system we should wait until mid to end of February, when Winter season gets to its end, to officially start the new year with the first season, Spring, as China does.

I guess the rest of the world, we are big fans of numbers and months. Because January is the first month in a year and 1st of Jan is the first day of that new year then we are right to ignore that based on the calendar we are still in Winter and therefore still part of the “old” year.

The festival


Chinese New Year festival

Is the biggest and most important of all festivals in China of which I am naming a few: Dragon Boat Festival, Lantern Festival, Double Seventh DAY (China’s Valentine’s day), Winter Solstice Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival etc.

Chinese New Year festival involves dancing dragons, acrobatic demonstrations and many other things which we’re going to explore in the following.

Let’s talk symbols:

Flowers — very important and must be part of the decorations

Plum blossom — symbol of hope

Narcissus — good luck

Sunflower – for a good year

Tangerines and oranges are also used in the festival decorations and in people’s homes as symbol of wealth.

Let’s talk traditions

Envelopes (red envelops) — filled with money — are offered to children / teenagers. They use red as symbol of happiness, luck, fortune.

Wearing new clothes is a must, ideally in red colour, for good luck and wealth in the new year.  This is similar to our Gregorian calendar New Year.

The festival

The festival is a big deal. And it takes place on the day of the New Year Eve (so it would be 31st for us). The festival is a true show. It involves dragons and lions dancing, comedy pieces, acrobat dancers, opera singers. And of course it involves lots of Chinese foods: dumplings, rice cakes, spring rolls, fish are on the top of the list. But they also cook pork, chicken, duck, Asian style.

Animals


Chinese animals in zodiac

Oh boy, Chinese people do love animals don’t they.

In the Chinese calendar, each year is represented by a different animal. 2018 is the year of the Dog. The other years of the Dog are: 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946 (from 12 to 12 years).

Photo: happy-new-year2018.com

The other animals are:

Rat: 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, you got the idea

Ox: 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973 and keep adding 12

Tiger: 1938, 1950, 1962 and so on

Rabbit: 1939, 1951, 1963 and so on

Dragon: 1940, 1952, 1964 and so on

Snake: 1941, 1953, 1965 and keep adding 12

Horse: 1942, 1954, 1966 + 12

Goat: 1943, 1955, 1967 +12

Monkey: 1944, 1956, 1968 +12

Rooster: 1945, 1957, 1969 +12

Dog: 1946, 1958, 1970 … + 12…2018

Pig: 1947, 1959, 1971…+12…2019

Photo: starzpsychics.com

If you want to learn more about what the dog symbolises, check out here.

Which animal in the Chinese zodiac are you?


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