Lunar New Year: Why China celebrates New Year now?
You all must have read about celebrations going on in our neighbouring country. China is celebrating its New Year. The 15-day festival attracts a lot of attention because Chinese people, wherever they may be, try to get back home and gather with family to celebrate the New Year. But why is it different and interesting? Let’s find out…
- While it is commonly referred to as ‘Chinese New Year’, the date is also celebrated across Korea, Vietnam, Singapore and elsewhere. It could more accurately be termed the ‘Lunar New Year’.
- This is different to the ‘Gregorian’ calendar in which the year always starts on 1 January. As it depends on the Moon, the date of Chinese New Year actually changes each year, but it will always fall some time between 21 January and 20 February.
- This year, the festival started on 12 February and would last for up to 16 days. This year marks the change from the year of the Rat to the year of the Ox.
- In Chinese tradition, each year is named after one of 12 animals, which feature in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. So the animals will have a year dedicated to them once every 12 years, in a cycle.
- People born in the years 2021, 2009, 1997, and so on for the previous 12 years would come under the zodiac animal Ox.
- But it’s said to be unlucky to have your zodiac year. So typically the Lunar Year 2021 would be unlucky for people who were born in 1997 or 2009, according to Chinese lore.
- But don’t worry, you just need to wear red clothes and buy a lot of jade accessories in order to turn your luck this year! No doubt, Chinese consider red as a lucky colour and it is so popular in that country.
- The holiday is actually celebrated as the Spring Festival in China. The extended vacation helps give farmers much relief after putting a lot of hard work on their crops and fields.
- Usually before the festivities begin, people clean their homes really well to make them ready for the celebrations. But they hide their brooms in case someone sweeps the good luck away!
- People enjoy eating lots of delicious food, including noodle soup, which traditionally brings luck for the year ahead.
- There are parades and procession where people dress up and also take out lion and dragon decorations. Though this year, the festivities would be subdued due to Coronavirus.
- Children are most eager for this festive occasion as they get a lot of red envelopes. And what’s in those envelopes? You guessed it right… money!
- The festivities continue for two weeks and finish with a special lantern festival.