Chinese New Year

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Chinese people have what is called “the lunar calendar.”  Most traditional Chinese holidays go by this calendar and Chinese New Year is one of them. This year, Chinese New Year is on February 10th.

Chinese New Year is the most important and also the longest Lunar holiday in Chinese culture. Traditionally, it begins on the first day of the first month and ends on the 15th of the first month of the Lunar calendar year.

Before the new year, one has much to do:  go to the bank and get brand new bills, clean the house thoroughly to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one, and buy enough food to last for days.  Also good luck signs are bought to be placed outside of the house.

On New Year’s Eve, families get together and have a big dinner. During Chinese New Year there are many traditions. For example, people put new bills in red envelopes to give out during the holiday.  Usually, it’s young children and elders who will receive red envelopes. Note, when one gives out envelopes, the amount of money should be an even number and one should avoid giving out any amount containing a “four” because four, is considered bad luck in Chinese culture. Another tradition is for husbands to accompany their wives to see her family on the second day of the New Year.  You will hear fireworks ring out during this period of time.

While celebrating the New Year, people use the colors red and gold  because these two colors are considered to bring people good luck. Also, one is expected to say things like 新年快乐 xīn  nián  kuài  lè (meaning “Happy New Year”), 恭喜发财 gōng  xǐ  fā  cái  (meaning “Congratulations and be prosperous”), and  年年有餘 nián  nián  yǒu  yú (meaning a wish for surpluses and bountiful harvests every year).