Chinese New Year & Spring Festival 2008

Year of the Pig ends and year of the Rat begins on febraury 7th 2008 till January 26th 2009

Year of the Rat, Zodiac sign

Springfestival” or “Chinese Newyear” is nowadays well known in the West as well, though only experiencing it yourself will show you how important it is for the Chinese. The impact is huge, surely with the role China is playing in world trade nowadays. During 3 to 4 weeks 80% of the country is on holiday, so the buyers in the West prepare/plan ahead!

A definition :

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (simplified Chinese: 春节; pinyin: Chūnjié), or the Lunar New Year (simplified Chinese: 农历新年; pinyin: Nónglì xīnnián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and an important holiday in East Asia (and celebrated largely by overseas Chinese). The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called the Lantern festival (simplified Chinese: 元宵节; pinyin: yuánxiāojié).Chinese New Year’s Eve is known as Chúxī (除夕). Chu literally means “change” and xi means “Eve”.Lunar calendar :The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines Chinese New Year dates : starts on the first day of the new year containing a new moon, ends on the Lantern Festival fourteen days later. (each lunation is about 29.53 days).
In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20.What happens :The period around Chinese New Year is also the time of the largest human migration, when migrant workers in China, as well as overseas Chinese around the world travel home to have reunion dinners with their families on Chinese New Year’s eve. More interurban trips are taken in mainland China in this 40-day period than the total population of China.No need to say how long the lines are to buy a ticket for public transport … IF you even manage to buy one.What else happens :

  • Very important is that Chinese should SPEND money during this period! Everyone is supposed to buy a whole new set of clothes. Often they buy new furniture or household appliances. It is also a time of year that shops have sales, just like the winter sales period in the West. A interesting article and some statistic of the impact on the economy, you can read here : http://china.org.cn/english/2006/Jan/156662.htm
  • The biggest event of any Chinese New Year’s Eve is the dinner every family will have. A dish consisting of fish will appear on the. (leaving some for the next day will bring abundancy of food for the new year).
    I
    n northern China, it is also customary to have dumplings for this dinner. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape is like a Chinese gold nugget.
    Mandarin oranges are the most popular and most abundant fruit during Chinese New Year.
    Fireworks an
    d firecrackers are lighted as to evict bad spirits from the premises.
  • There are rituals of what has to happen each day of the first two weeks of the new year. For example: the first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.
  • On the days before the New Year celebration Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-panes a new coat of red paint.
    People also give red packets containing cash (Ya Sui Qian, which was evolved, literally: the money used to suppress evil spirit) to junior members of the family, mostly children.

Items and symbols :

  • Red Lanterns
    These lanterns differ from those of Mid Autumn Festival in general. They will be red in color and tend to be oval in shape. These are the traditional Chinese paper lanterns. Those lanterns, used on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year for the Lantern Festival, are bright, colourful, and in many different sizes and shapes.
  • Decorations
    They generally convey a New Year greeting. Chinese calligraphy posters show Chinese idioms.
  • Couplets
    Eight is considered a lucky number in Chinese tradition, so Chinese couplets usually consists of two lines of four characters each, often written from top to bottom to add formality.
  • Red Chinese knots knots

    Are a decorative handicraft arts that began as a form of Chinese folk art in the Tang and Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) in China.

  • Yuanbao ingots
    Ingot made of gold The gold yuanbao symbolizes money and/or wealth. Yuanbao shaped ingots were the standard medium of exchange in ancient China.
  • Papercutting
    Chinese paper cutting is a unique artform and has existed for thousands of years with a long history featuring both national and regional themes. paper cutting rat
    In the rural countryside in mainland China, papercutting is a traditionally female activity. In the past, every girl was expected to master it and brides were often judged by their skill. Professional papercutting artists are, on the other hand, usually male and have guaranteed incomes and work together in workshops.

Greetings (the 2 most common)The Chinese New Year is often accompanied by loud, enthusiastic greetings, often referred to as 吉祥話 (Jíxiánghùa), or loosely translated as auspicious words or phrases.

  • “Happy New Year”
    simplified Chinese:
    新年快乐; pinyin: Xīnnián kuàilè;
    or : :
    过年好; traditional Chinese: 過年好; pinyin: Guo Nian Hao
  • “Congratulations and be prosperous”
    Kung Hei Fat Choi ( Hong Kong )
    simplified Chinese:
    恭喜发财; traditional Chinese: 恭喜發財; pinyin: Gōngxǐ fācái
    The saying is now commonly heard in English speaking communities for greetings during Chinese New Year in parts of the.

And to end this article with, a few, sometimes funny, examples of Chinese Superstitions during the New Year period: Opening windows and/or doors is considered to bring in the good luck of the new year. Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to ‘scare away’ ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year. Sweets are eaten to ensure the consumer a “sweet” year. It is important to have the house completely clean from top to bottom before New Year’s Day for good luck in the coming year. Some believe that what happens on the first day of the new year reflects the rest of the year to come. Asians will often gamble at the beginning of the year, hoping to get luck and prosperity. Wearing a new pair of slippers that is bought before the new year, because it means to step on the people who gossip about you. The night before the new year, bathe yourself in pomelo leaves and some say that you will be healthy for the rest of the new year.[edit] Bad luck Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one’s own luck (although modern hygienic concerns take precedence over this tradition) Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year. Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional funeral color.

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