One of the most famous events of the year is the Chinese New Year. It is based on the Chinese lunar calendar and takes place this year on the 18th February. Initially it was only celebrated in most Asian countries but nowadays even European countries are celebrating it.
Which ‘Year’ is it?
2015 introduces the year of the goat. According to the legend, the twelve animals that currently make up the Chinese zodiac have been chosen by the Jade emperor,玉皇 (Yù Huáng), following a race between them. The emperor promised to give a special status to the first twelve animals that reached him in his palace.
Amidst a crowd, the rat came first by sneaking in and out of the others legs. Then came the ox by charging at everyone and the tiger jumped over the crowd, arriving as the third animal. Each animal had its own unique way of reaching the emperor until they found the twelve zodiac animals.
New Year’s Eve is the longest national holiday in China. Chinese people celebrate it by organising dinners and cooking typical dishes. Among them are dumplings, called 饺子 (Jiǎozi) that are often filled with minced beef, vegetables and shrimp. These are normally boiled although you can find them grilled in some other regions.
During the day, Chinese people cook in many different ways. Fish is a dish that they usually eat a lot but they also prepare the famous spring rolls (春卷-Chūnjuǎn) filled with vegetables and sweets, traditionally eaten during Spring Festival (which explains their name).
During the twentieth day of the second lunar month, all Chinese people clean their homes to welcome in relatives during New Years Day. Home-made objects like lanterns are set as decorations with poems or jokes written on them. The traditional colour is red which can be seen through the lanterns hung in the streets. Furthermore dragon dances and family gatherings are famous Chinese New Years’ traditions.
To celebrate the day, people also exchange money envelopes with children to wish them luck and happiness. Little boys and girls keep it as a gift under their pillow while they are asleep.
Chinese New Year is a special day and one of the most important days in the year to Chinese people. Like during the Eve of the Moon Festival or other Chinese traditional events, the New Year is also a moment of family gathering and sharing. Significant thoughts and values are celebrated: happiness, fortune, love.