In every country there are many types of traditions that are held and many types of cultures that are celebrated. Each and every one of them have their own ways of celebrating their own holiday and cultures. Many different countries have different types of holidays that some may of never heard of before. There are also many common holidays that everyone celebrate around the world, like Saint Patrick’s Day, Christmas and even New Years. Even though the United States has their own way in celebrating New Years, different countries have their own traditions and a definition of the New Year.
In other words or in another meaning, they celebrate their own way of New Years, not only is it the first day of January, but it can also be on a certain day or days every year. A perfect example of this is the Chinese New Year. Many people think they know what it is all about but do they know when the Chinese New Year is. Or do they even know how long the Chinese celebrate their New Years. The Cool thing about this is that the Chinese celebrate in their own way of the New Year which is in a unique way that is way different to how the Americans celebrate it.
The Chinese has celebrated their New Years as a spring festival for many years. This is a time for the Chinese to gather their lovely families and their friends. Since the Chinese culture has a lot and a very long history to go through, they celebrate their New Years in a very old traditional way. The Chinese also created their own calendar system, which is called the Lunar Calendar. The Lunar Calendar is very different than how the United States calendar is. The cool thing about Chinese New Year is that it changes from day to day every year, depending on the Lunar calendar.
Before everything history had changed, most of the people in China were farm workers. Everyday life for the people in China, were them either planting or harvesting crops. The New Years festival was then later held after the fall harvest and before the start of the spring planting season. The cool part about the Lunar Calendar is that it is based on moon patterns, where it all begins with a new moon. The Chinese New Year is held on the first day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar calendar and it lasts for as long as fifteen days until the full moon arrives. Each year this amazing holiday is sometimes between January 21 and February 19. But it all depends on the calendar and the moon patterns.
One of the many cool differences between America and China is that China has animals that symbolize the years. The Chinese had developed twelve different types of animals to stand for each of the years to come. After twelve years, the cycle of animals will start all over to the beginning. The animals that were chosen were the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and the pig. So in 2019 it would be the year of the pig making it this year 2018 the year of the dog according to the Chinese calendar. The question is, why would they choose the Rat as the beginning of everything or the first year? How did the Chinese choose between these different types of animals? Well apparently, there is a old story about it, that tells us the whole story of the reasoning of the order.
The short summary of the story of it all was that the animals were fighting for the first spot of the year. So in order to solve this out there was a race between them all and whoever crossed the river first would get the first year. As the competition went on the mighty Ox was first but the thing was that the sneaky rat was on top of him. At the end of the race the rat jumps off the Ox and wins making him the first year. So this was what determined what order the animals would be in. Also since the Chinese has animals representing each year, the Chinese believe that the person who is born in the year of a certain animal will be like that animal, or have some certain kinds of characteristics of them.
The Chinese families will starts to decorate and get ready for the New Year one week before. Out of all the many Chinese traditions, it is said that the Chinese New Year is the very and most important day in a year for them. Everyone always wants to have a fresh and new beginning in their lives and since the New Year is approaching for them it is good to have an excuse to start over. Because of this, the people will begin to clean their homes nicely and make sure that everything is spotless. No matter where you look, the homes of the Chinese who are about to have guests over are gonna make sure it is worthy enough for people to come and celebrate. According to some of the people, they believe that if you have a clean home the evil spirits will pass right over them and not even recognize the place since there is a new look to the house.
After making sure everything is spotless in the house, the people like most, will do some decorations by putting crafts on their walls, setting tablecloth on the tables and putting some decorations on the doors to be able to make it as festive as possible. Usually, while decorating, they would put red pieces of paper that have Chinese words written on them everywhere in the house. These Chinese words will have a good and positive meaning to them such as luck, wealth or happiness and more. People tend to choose the color red because in China red is the color of luck so it is best to decorate with the color red for the New Year. So, it won’t be surprising when you can see a lot of red colors around and everywhere among China when the Chinese New Year is approaching.
As the New Years Eve comes to an approach, every family member is highly recommended to come and celebrate the New Year all together as one. If for some reason not all the members of the family was not able to make it for a complicated reason, the family member that could not attend the dinner event would have an empty chair that would be left open for them so it allows the others to not forget about them while trying to celebrate a happy New Years. In other words, by doing this it allows them not to forget about them while enjoying the New Year together. At the dinner table, there will be a lot of amazing and different types of foods gathered around. People usually prepare a bunch of delicious foods for the New Years Eve, such as fish, chicken, duck and many vegetables.
Because these dishes are heard to be so amazing and so delicious, by the end of the night people would usually get a big stomach ache by eating so much food. A huge tradition for the Chinese to do during the New Years, is to make dumplings where they might put special surprises inside of them. There is also another big traditional food that will usually appear on the dinner table which is named the Nian Gao. That is a very unique pastry made by sugar and rice. It apparently tastes very sweet and is super sticky, but it is supposed to mean that sweetness and luck will always stick with you forever. After the delightful family reunion and the amazing food that was prepared, the Chinese will later begin to make their own clothes or buy them themselves. The Chinese used to dress very nicely for the New Year, but today they can dress more casual if they want.
When the clock strikes midnight, the people of China who have been celebrating all night in their homes with their families and friends will slowly start to go outside and enjoy the beautiful city lights. The children on the other hand will probably be the ones to race out their homes and get all excited to start and play with the firecrackers on the streets, which kinda is similar to how we in the United States do things during our New Years. It is said that the firecrackers were used in order to fight and chase and get rid of a mythical and scary monster, who was called Nian. it was once said that Nian had one time terrorized the people of China. But as the time flew by, the loud noises that the people would make with the firecrackers would scare him away and later is would have been used to create a happy and cheerful holiday spirit that is held today.
While the children are playing around and using firecrackers for their entertainment, the older people will just wander around watching the beautiful colors come to life that is made by the firecrackers used by the children and the fireworks that shines in the sky at night. Also, during this time they would go and visit their friends and relatives. Even though all the people loves Chinese New Year, the children in particular really loves this holiday the most due to the fact that they will receive a gift called the Hongbao. Hongbao is just a little red envelope which has a certain kind of special gift inside. It will contain money whether it be $8 to $12 for good luck. Unmarried children are only eligible to receive the Hongbao, but for respect they have to make sure that they first greet their elders or married friends.
After the wonderful and magical night that the families had, comes the morning. As the sun starts to rise and the morning is as clear as day, the Chinese will have a huge parade on the streets of their town where people can see the amazing and colorful dragon and the parade full of colorful things and so much talent. During this parade, people will be able to watch and enjoy the Dragon Dance and also the skillful Lion Dance. The Lion Dance is a hard and amazing piece of performance art and someone who where to perform this would have to be very talented to do this dance. It is normally only performed by two people. It is said that it takes years of hard work and training and lots of practicing before an individual can even be good enough to perform in front of a public audience. Also the Lion Dancers are usually practitioners of the Chinese martial arts or are in Kung Fu. It is usually like this because the performers have to be able to be strong enough for it and have to be able to know some martial arts or kung fu in order to do this dance since it contains some of the moves for it.
After the New Years and during the next two weeks, the Chinese will still keep on celebrating the spirit of their New Year ahead. But instead of having the parade and the firecrackers, the rest of the celebration is mostly about family time by having dinners together and making sure that they are all appreciated. Also besides hanging with family many will greet their friends and make sure that they are not forgotten in the process. Many of the people would also like to have time to be able to be with their friends or their relatives who are living away from them to so many plan on taking trips to get to them. It is shown that the Chinese New Year is one of the most and longest holidays for the Chinese people and traditions.
It is clear that the Chinese have quite an interesting way to celebrate their own New Year. Learning about the Chinese New Year and comparing it to the New Year that I grew up with and knowing that people celebrate in so many different ways makes me want to visit China during their New Year. Also, most of the Chinese New Year is just based on the Chinese old traditions, and their way to celebrate the New Year has not changed for a long period of time.
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