The Chinese New Year is a fifteen day celebration that falls on a different date each year as it is a combination of lunar and solar movements. It usually falls in the month of January or February. This year marks the 'Year of the Ox'.
The Chinese New Year's date varies every year and falls on second new moon after the winter solstice. The date for the occasion is decided according to the calendar which is a combination of the solar and the lunar calendar. Rat, Ox, tiger, rabbit, cat, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar are the animals that are considered to be auspicious. Each person as is believed in the Chinese calendar resembles an animal and this reflects their traits.
The Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival as it is also known is the most revered holiday of the year. This is the time when family and friends gather and offer prayers to their ancestors and deities followed by a lavish dinner to usher in the New Year. During this time, families clean their homes while feng shui believers decorate their homes accordingly. On Chinese New Year Eve, members of a family stay up late as legend goes that long ago; the gods in heaven would give gold to each family so they would keep awake, active and ready to accept the gold gift.
Families decorate their homes with pretty vases and colorful flowers symbolizing that nature has reawakened. Oranges and tangerines are placed in the house as a sign of happiness and prosperity. A tray of candies made of eight different types of candies are placed along with these. The candies are made of lotus seeds, longan, peanuts, coconut, cumquat, red melon seeds, candied melon, etc.
The traditional food that is a significant part of the Chinese New Year party includes Jai, Fish and chicken, noodles and desserts. The dinner has a symbolic meaning in which the Chinese dumplings imply wealth as they are in the shape of ancient Chinese gold or silver ingots. Jiu is the traditional hard liquor in China symbolizes longevity as also Daikon, a white radish. Red chilies symbolize good luck while rice ensures harmony.
Chinese people are usually out on the roads, especially kids who wear Chinese dragon masks and go for the Chinese New Year Dragon parade. Dragon dances are a vital part of the Chinese New Year. One man who has a 'Pearl Of Wisdom' on a pole entices the dragon to follow him to the drum beats as though searching for wisdom and knowledge. The lion dance is an equally important ritual in the consecration of any auspicious time in China. The Lantern Festival is an amazing visual display of multicolored paper lanterns created by craftsmen in designs of butterflies, dragons, birds, dragonflies and other insects or animals. The Dragon Boat Festival marks the day of a certain Chinese scholar who threw himself into the river over a political protest.
Chinese New Year is not just a festival of fun and part, but also a time to welcome the new season, pray for prosperity and well being and cleanse away the any thing evil.
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