HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Friday 12th February 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
TODAY IS CHINESE NEW YEAR – Ok, I know you can’t travel there. But lets go celebrate it by understanding what it is all about.
First of all HOW TO SAY “HAPPY NEW YEAR” IN CHINESES
过年好 / 過年好 – Guònián hǎo
Means: ‘Pass the New Year well!’
(过年好 – Guò nián hǎo
Means: “Happy Lunar New Year”.
14 Facts You Should Know about Chinese New Year
1 The festival date changes every year.
This is because it follows the lunar calendar, based on the movement of the moon. Usually, it falls on a day between mid-January and mid-February. In 2021, Chinese New Year falls on today, February 12.
2 It is also called Spring Festival.
The festival usually falls after the solar term, Beginning of Spring (Li Chun), and is a festival in the spring, hence the name.
3 Chinese New Year starts a new animal’s year. This year is the year of the Ox.
4 The celebration lasts for 15 days till Lantern Festival.
The peak time of the entire celebration is on Chinese New Year’s Eve and the first day of the lunar new year. The 15th day is called Lantern Festival, marking the end of the celebration.
5 One sixth of the world’s people celebrate it.
It is not only celebrated in Mainland China, but also observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and some other Asian countries as well as Chinatowns around the world.
In recent years, the celebrations in New York, London, Vancouver, Sydney and other overseas cities have spread out of Chinatowns. Chinese New Year has become one of the world’s most celebrated festivals.
6 It is the longest public holiday and the whole country is on the move.
Most employees have 7-12 days off work, and students have one month winter holiday. The 2021 Chinese New Year holiday is from February 11th to 17th.
No matter where they are, people try their best to return home for a family reunion, like westerners attempting to spend Christmas with their families. Meanwhile, some families travel together during the holiday. This makes the world’s largest annual migration, known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush. The total trips made by plane, train, bus and ship can reach nearly 3 billion.
7 Reunion dinner is a ritual.
The reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve is a big feast to commemorate the past year. This is the most important time to be with families.
After the reunion dinner, families sit together to watch the CCTV New Year’s Gala while chatting. As the most watched TV program, the gala collects various well-selected performances, targeting audiences of different generations.
8 Then comes the annual largest usage of fireworks on the planet.
Fireworks are an indispensable part of the celebration to liven up the air of Spring Festival. All families set off fireworks to celebrate the festival. The biggest firework show is on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
9 The celebration decorations are mostly in red.
Houses are decorated with red Spring Festival couplets, red lanterns, and red paper cuttings; city streets are lit up by red lanterns; and numerous people are dressed in red. This is because red in Chinese culture is the symbol of happiness, wealth and prosperity, and can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. These red decorations are to the festival what Christmas trees are to Christmas.
10 “Guo Nian Hao” is one of the most used greetings.
This is like the westerners saying “Merry Christmas” to each other on Christmas Day. It means “Happy New Year”.
Why is the celebration also called “Guo Nian”? “Nian”is the Chinese word for year. In folk culture, the Spring Festival celebration is also called “Guo Nian” (meaning “passing a year”). In a Chinese New Year story, “Nian” is a fierce and cruel monster which eats livestock and kids, but it is scared of red color and cracker sound. Therefore, people use red decorations and fireworks to drive away “Nian”.
11 Everyone wears new clothes.
Kids are especially happy to show their beautiful new clothes to their little friends and others.
12 Kids receive red envelopes as gifts.
Red envelopes are the best gifts for kids.
Instead of wrapped gifts that western nationalities give at Christmas, children get red envelopes stuffed with lucky money from grandparents, uncles, aunts and other elders who have started to earn their way. The happy fact is that kids are allowed to spend the money as they like.
13 They can eat various delicious foods.
The most famous festival food is dumplings. Additionally, many others are served to treat the families, including rice cakes (Niangao), spring rolls, fish, and rice dumplings. They are served not only at the reunion dinner, but during the whole holiday, not only at home, but at relatives’ places and temple fairs.
14 Everyone gets one year older.
It is like a national birthday and it doesn’t matter when you were born. For kids, it means they are able to do more things on their own.
TOP TEN + 10 +1 OF THE DAY
TOP 21 Customs of Chinese New Year
During Chinese New Year, people have a long list of things to do. From one week preceding the festival to the 15th day after, many Chinese New Year customs are widely observed for thousands of years. The family reunion dinner, eating dumplings, and setting off firework are the must-dos that you might know. What else interesting do the Chinese do? The following 21 customs of Chinese New Year must be the list you are looking for.
- Cleaning Up
House Cleaning – Cleaning the house is a long-observed Chinese New Year tradition. The ground, the walls, and every corner of the house need to be cleaned.
In Chinese, “Dust” is a homophone for the word “Chen”, meaning the old. Therefore a year-end cleaning is needed to drive the old things or the bad luck away from the house, and get ready for a new start.
- New Year Shopping
After cleaning people will go shopping, from a new piece of furniture to a new plate. Chinese people believe that since this is a year anew they should buy a lot of new things. Purchasing new items symbolizes welcoming new things and getting ready for a new start.
A variety of foods are sure in their shopping list. Meat, vegetables, fruits are must, while candies and nuts are popular items which are later seen on the tea table of every Chinese household.
- Paste Spring Festival Couplets
Couplets are typically pasted on doorways as a part of the festival’s decoration. The custom of pasting Spring Festival couplets can be traced back over 1,000 years to the Later Shu State (934 – 965). The original form of modern couplets was called “Taofu”, a piece of peach wood protecting against evil without any writing on. In the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), the antithetical couplets began to be written on the wood to express people’s good wishes. Later, the modern form of couplets appeared replacing the peach wood with the red paper. The couplets include two veritcal scrolls on two sides and a horizontal scroll on the top.
- Paste the “Fu” Character
The character “Fu”, meaning good fortune or happiness, is used to express people’s good wish and yearning for the future, so people usually paste it on the gates or some furniture in the house during the Chinese New Year. Pasting the “Fu” upside down, meaning the arrival of happiness or good fortune, is a widely accepted custom among Chinese people.
In ancient time, this character and the couplets were written by hand, but now, people can buy printed ones. Some shops even present these printed works to their customers.
- Chinese Knots
They are prepared to decorate houses during the festival. They were first used to string jade pendants on clothes as decorations and these knots were widely used as decorations on traditional Chinese musical instruments.
Now there are small Chinese knots used as gifts or curtain decorations, and also big ones as hanging ornaments in the house.
- Paste Window Paper-Cuts
The time-honoured handicraft of paper-cuts carries carries people’s good wishes. Auspicious words or patterns are cut on red paper, recording the happy moments in life or imagining the better life of the New Year.
The paper-cuts of Fu character are the most popular pattern. People paste them on windows or furniture.
- Door Gods Pictures
In Taoism and ancient folk custom, the Gods of the Door, are among the most popular gods for ancient Chinese people. They are in a pair, usually in the images of the deified generals of the Tang Dynasty (618 -907) – Qin Qiong and Yuchi Gong.
During the Chinese New Year, people paste their pictures on the doors to drive away the evil spirits, keep the house safe, and encourage the good fortune.
- Chinese New Year Pictures
They originated from the Door Gods pictures in the Han Dynasty (202BC – 220AD), and became a popular activity since the Song Dynasty. The mature craft of woodblock carving at that time enabled people to make various life scenes alive, such as their harvest parties, worship formalities, and religious ceremonies.
Later, more themes like women and babies, opera performance, and zodiac animal signs are included in the pictures.
- Family Reunion Dinner
As the festival approaches, family reunion becomes the major concern of every Chinese person. No matter how far apart of the family members, they would get back home for the biggest annual gathering. A luxurious home-made dinner is served, containing many dishes with not only delicious taste, but also good appearance and auspicious connotations. Besides the dumplings, a whole fish is a must, standing for a surplus and fortune of the New Year.
- Eating Dumplings
The most important food during Chinese New Year is the dumplings, which are made with flour and stuffed with different fillings. It is a custom to eat dumplings on the New Year’s Eve, the 1st and the 5th day of the New Year. Because their shape resembles the monetary ingots used in ancient times, dumplings are believed to bring wealth in the coming year. People wrap coins, candies, or peanuts in some of the dumplings to express different blessing, for example a coin for wealth, candy for sweet life, and peanuts for health and longevity.
- Glutimous Rice Balls
In south China, the Glutinous Rice Ball, Yuanxiao or Tangyuan in Chinese, is a traditional food for the Chinese New Year, just as the dumplings in north China. The balls are made of sticky rice flour stuffed with different fillings. Some do not have fillings. Their round shape symbolizes reunion, harmony and happiness. In north China, the Glutinous Rice Balls are eaten only on the Lantern Festival, when family members gather together and appreciate the first full moon of a lunar year.
- CCTV New Year’s Gala
New Year’s Gala is a comprehensive art and performance event on the festival’s eve. First broadcasted in 1983, it has become a beloved performance including skits, cross talk, acrobatics, songs and dances.
The gala starts at 20:00, with a countdown at 0:00, and ends with the song “Cannot Forget Tonight” at about 0:30.
- Firecrackers and Fireworks
Firework Firecrackers are always set off at midnight. In some places, people also set off firecrackers on the morning of the first day of the New Year. The use of firecrackers can be traced to the legend of the Monster Nian in 2,000 years ago, when people threw bamboo into the fire to drive away the monster. After gunpowder was invented, firecrackers replaced the bamboo. Because fires can be easily started by the firecrackers, many places ban firecrackers except in designated areas.
- Send Greeting Messages
During the festival and especially on the New Year’s Eve, people send greetings to relatives, colleagues, and friends through phone.
They use instant messenger like Wechat, to send text and voice messages, emoticons, videos, and digital red envelopes to express good wishes.
- Send Greeting Cards
In the past, people sent New Year cards to their friends, parents, and relatives during the happy event especially when they were not going to be with them on the festival. Words of blessing are written on the cards similar to Christmas cards in western countries. Now, with the advance of technology, the form of cards has changed, while the custom of sending cards continues, with both paper cards and digital ones.
- Give Red Envelopes
Red envelope, also known as lucky money, is prepared for children by the elderly and given after the reunion dinner. In folk culture, children will live safe and sound for the whole year if they get the lucky money. This custom still remains and the amount of money is increasing.
Children use the money to buy books or other school supplies. Some families save the money for the kids’ future use.
- Wear New Clothes
Chinese people prefer everything new for the festival. Generally, it is the duty of the middle generation of a family to buy new clothes for all family members. Although some adults do not follow this custom anymore, every child wear brand new clothes on the New Year’s Day, from head to toe.
For people in his or her zodiac year of birth, a piece of new clothing in red is needed. Red underwear is popular, while a red overcoat is also a common choice.
- Visit Friends and Relatives
A special way for people to express good wishes to each other and an important Chinese New Year tradition is to visit relatives. Generally speaking, people drop in at relatives and friends’ houses, bringing gifts or red envelopes, and greeting one another with ‘Happy New Year’. In some rural places, where families have many relatives, this activity lasts for several days. It is impolite to visit someone without a gift. Therefore, special local products, fruits, and wines should be taken when you visit others.
- Temple Fairs
Temple fair is an old practice of Chinese New Year customs, especially in Beijing. Although they originally were a form of worship connected with temples, now they are more like carnivals and are sometimes held in parks. Traditional cultural performances such as playing diabolo, traditional magic, puppet shows and so on can be seen. Besides, people can buy all kinds of small commodities at very low prices. During and after the festival, Beijing has temple fairs almost every day in different places such as Wangfujing, Altar of the Earth and Longtan Park.
- Watch Colourful Lanterns
Lantern Show. The Lantern Festival marks the end of the festival. Lanterns in different shapes are displayed on the evening of the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. In ancient times, these lanterns were made of paper or silk with candles placed inside. Now the materials have changed and the candles have replaced by bulbs or LEDs.
In many cities, there are lantern fairs held in some historical sites or landmark buildings, where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the traditional Chinese art.
- Watch Shehuo Performance
Shehuo is often part of the Lantern Festival particularly in north China. It is a form of worship consisting of both shows and parades, including a variety of performances such as the dragon and lion dances, yangko dance, and performance on stilts.
Shehuo is a common Chinese New Year custom in rural areas, but seldom seen in cities. In some small towns, people crowd the roads to watch the exciting parade on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month.
FUNNIEST FRONT NATIONAL DAILY FRONT PAGE OF THE DAY!
DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH EVERYDAY
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Happiness is…Chinese New Year
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
A Chinese Proverb: Man who pass wind in church sit in own pew.
A Chinese New Year Joke: May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!
Another Chinese Joke: Husband: Today is Sunday and I have to enjoy it. So I bought 3 movie tickets.
Wife: Why three?
Husband: For you and your parents.
Love is…found on a slow boat to China.
A time for a Western / Gregorian New year…A time for a Chinese or Lunar New Year.
12th February 1540 The first recorded horse racing meeting in Britain; held at the Roodeye Field, Chester. Chester Racecourse (see ©BB picture) is, according to official records the oldest racecourse still in use in England and it is also thought to be the smallest racecourse of significance in England at 1 mile 1 furlong long.
12th February 1964 Seventy three million Americans tuned in to the Ed Sullivan Show to watch four youths from Liverpool (the Beatles) appear in America for the first time.
LITTLE NUMBERS: SOME HORRBLE SOME NICE
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