No matter where you are in the world, you have probably heard or even witnessed the Chinese New Year celebration. This is not surprising at all considering the fact that more than 1.4 billion people on the planet, about 1/6 of the world’s population, is celebrating Chinese New Year this year.
What is the Chinese New Year? How is different from the regular New Year celebration? Here are 10 interesting facts about the Chinese New Year that you should know:
1. Date Changes
Unlike the regular New Year’s day in the Gregorian calendar which is observed every first day of January, the date of the celebration of the Chinese New Year varies every year. The date is based on the lunar calendar, which is based upon the cycle of the moon. The Chinese New Year is normally celebrated between January 20 to February 20 of each year.
2. Use of Animals to Represent a Year
The Chinese Zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle. An animal sign is used to represent each year. It is believed that the attributes of the whole year is based on the animal’s characteristics and living habits. For 2019, it is the year of the pig. According to Chinese belief, pigs are symbols of wealth.
3. A 15-day celebration
Also known as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year is celebrated until the 15th day of the Lunar month. During the festival, the Chinese people welcomes spring and everything it represents – planting, harvests and new beginnings. There are parties, fireworks, parades, red lanterns and the iconic dragon dances everywhere. It ends on the Lantern Festival.
4. Everything is in Red
Red is an auspicious color. It symbolises good fortune, success, wealth and happiness. This is why the Chinese decorates everything in red from the lanterns to the paper arts. They also prefer wearing red during the festivities.
5. Giving of Red Packets
Red packets/envelopes containing cash are given to children, grandchildren or employees as New Year’s gifts. The red envelope symbolises blessings and good luck. It is a tradition for those who are already earning money to share their blessing with others. Only even number of bills are allowed inside the red packets.
6. Day with Most Fireworks in the World
Fireworks are launched not only to welcome the coming of the New Year but also meant to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. This tradition dates back over 2,000 years ago. Legend says that a monster called Nian goes out to eat the villagers and destroy their houses every spring. The firecrackers were originally intended to scare Nian.
7. Largest Annual Human Migration in the World
The spring festival is all about family reunions. Millions of Chinese around the world go back to their ancestral homes during the festival. All members of the clan should be at home just in time for the Chinese New Year dinner. The Chinese call this phenomenon the Chunyun meaning spring migration.
8 . Singles sometimes hire fake girl/boy friends to bring home
Producing offsprings is one filial obligation that the Chinese take seriously. It is very important matter for the family that some single Chinese who are of marrying age are pressured to bring even a fake girlfriend or boyfriend back home to introduce to the family as a temporary solution to their dilemma.
9. List of Taboos
There are things that one should not do during the Chinese New Year:
- No eating porridge. Porridge is a sign of poverty.
- No washing of hair and clothes. It washes good luck away.
- No cleaning and throwing out of garbage. It sweeps wealth away.
- No black and white clothes. They are unlucky colors.
- No lending or borrowing money. It leads to debt.
- No use of sharp objects like scissors and knives. They cut wealth.
- No bad words like “death” and no arguing. It attracts negative things.
10. Everyone’s Birthday
“Human Day” is celebrated on the 7th day, Renri. It is supposedly the day on which the Goddess Nu Wa created mankind. It is considered as a common birthday for all human beings. As a result, everyone gets a year older on this day.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!