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What is Chinese New Year?

What is Chinese New Year?
05 Oct 2010 18:35:33

As requested from Glory,i will write a blog about Chinese New Year.I will first copy and paste some important information and then i will write my experiences of celebrating chinese new year in singapore at the end of the blog.

Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.Chinese new year on 2010 was at Feb 14 and next year it will be on the 3rd of February.Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions

Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans (Seollal), Tibetans and Bhutanese (Losar), Mongolians (Tsagaan Sar), Vietnamese (Tết), and the Japanese before 1873 (Oshogatsu).

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nien (Chinese: 年(it means "Year")). Nien would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nien ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nien was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nien was afraid of the colour red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nien. From then on, Nien never came to the village again. The Nien was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nien became Hongjun Laozu's mount.

Chinese New Year last 15 days.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.

The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.

The third day is known as "chì kǒu" (赤口), directly translated as "red mouth". "chì kǒu is also called "chì gǒu rì" (赤狗日). "chì gǒu" means "the God of Blazing Wrath" (熛怒之神). It is generally accepted that it is not a good day to socialize or visit your relatives and friends.

On the Fifth day people in northern China, people eat jiǎo zi (simplified Chinese: 饺子; traditional Chinese: 餃子), or dumplings on the morning of Po Wu (破五). This is also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth.

The seventh day, traditionally known as renri 人日, the common man's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older. It is the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten. This is a custom primarily among the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore. People get together to toss the colourful salad and make wishes for continued wealth and prosperity.

The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天宮) in the Taoist Pantheon. The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor. This day is especially important to Hokkiens. Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, Hokkiens will offer thanks giving prayers to the Emperor of Heaven. Offerings will include sugarcane as it was the sugarcane that had protected the Hokkiens from certain extermination generations ago. Incense, tea, fruit, vegetarian food or roast pig, and paper gold is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honored person.

On the 13th day people will eat pure vegetarian food to clean out their stomach due to consuming too much food over the last two weeks.

This day is dedicated to the General Guan Yu, also known as the Chinese God of War. Guan Yu was born in the Han dynasty and is considered the greatest general in Chinese history. He represents loyalty, strength, truth, and justice. According to history, he was tricked by the enemy and was beheaded.

Almost every organization and business in China will pray to Guan Yu on this day. Before his life ended, Guan Yu had won over one hundred battles and that is a goal that all businesses in China want to accomplish. In a way, people look at him as the God of Wealth or the God of Success.

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuan Xiao Festival/Yuánxiāojié (元宵节) or Shang Yuan Festival/Shàngyuánjié (上元节) or Lantern Festival, otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei(Chinese: 十五暝; pinyin: shí wǔ míng; literally "the fifteen night") in Fujian dialect. Rice dumplings tangyuan (simplified Chinese: 汤圆; traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyin: tāngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.

In Malaysia and Singapore, this day is celebrated by individuals seeking for a love partner, a different version of Valentine's Day.[8] Normally, single women would write their contact number on mandarin oranges and throw it in a river or a lake while single men would collect them and eat the oranges. The taste is an indication of their possible love: sweet represents a good fate while sour represents a bad fate.

This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

My experiences on celebrating chinese new year
As a child,chinese new year is my favourite festival because on this day children receive Red envelopes when we visit our relatives.What is red envelope you may ask,red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals.It is usually given from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors.
Try going out on chinese new year and you will hardly ever see anyone on the street and all of the stores are closed except for convenience store.On this day,we see relatives that we hardly see in a year.We buy new clothes for a new year and we eat expensive food we hardly eat.

There was a few time when my parent invite lion dance troupe to our house for a short dance,it last about 15-20 minutes and i really like it and enjoyed it.For my family we only celebrate chinese new year for 3 day.

Peter Chao explains why chinese new year is better than valentine day

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KururuSouchou (USA)
05 Oct 2010, 11:10:10
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That was a rather enlightening read. None of the countries I've lived in (UK, New Zealand, and the USA) have major celebrations of the Chinese New Year, so I've always wondered what it's like. Thanks for the read!
MrsSkeeter (Germany)
05 Oct 2010, 12:18:30
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thanks for the read! that was really interesting) i didn't know anything about this holyday
Vivi (Russia)
05 Oct 2010, 21:13:18
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That was really informative and interesting. Thanks a lot! =)
I thought that i know something about Chinese New Year but I was totally wrong ^^'

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