Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is one of the most celebrated events across the globe. The date of celebration varies every year.
The traditions and celebrations go back in time, and are transmitted generations by generations. They aim to welcome health, wealth and good relationships over the coming year.
Here is what we know:
1) When and where is it celebrated?
2) What does it commemorate?
Traditionally, the festival was an opportunity to honour deities as well as ancestors.
It is believed that it originated in the Shang Dynasty when people held ceremonies in honour of gods and ancestors at the beginning of the year.
- China adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1911, so the festivities were renamed the Spring Festival.
The celebration is rich in stories and myths. One of the most popular ones is about the mythical beast Nian who would eat livestock, crops and people. To avert such destruction, people would put food at their doors. The beast was also known for being scared of loud noises (firecrackers) and the red colour.
3) How is it celebrated?
The Chinese New Year it is an occasion for families to gather and celebrate. It is known for being highly colourful, with people lighting firecrackers and watching traditional lion dances.
- In the evening of the Spring Festival Eve, many people set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to keep away bad luck.
It is also traditional for every family to clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune, and to make way for incoming good luck.
- The family dinner is one of the most important meals for Chinese families. The dinner leads to one of China’s biggest migrations every year.
In 2018, Chinese are expected to make nearly three million trips from February to March. It is one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated festivals.
Windows and doors are decorated with red colour-paper strips and couplets with themes of good fortune, wealth and longevity. Red symbolises good fortune in Chinese tradition, and children will also be given red envelopes with money.
4) Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese Zodiac moves in a 12-year cycle, and those born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018 are also known as Dogs.
According to the Asian astrology, your year of birth – and the animal this represents – set many of your personality traits.
The dogs are described as independent, sincere, communicative and loyal.
4) In Pictures
|Sitting around a table full of homemade dishes in Wuhan, Hubei [Wang He/Getty Images]|
|A dish created in the shape of a dog as residents gather on February 9 [Wang He/Getty Images]|
|Celebrations at a shopping centre before Lunar New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [Sadiq Asyraf/AP]|
|Scrambling for Chinese sweetcakes during Grebeg Sudiro festival on February 11 in Solo City, Central Java, Indonesia. Grebeg Sudiro festival is held as a prelude to the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 16, welcoming the Year of the Dog [Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images]|