The vast Chinese population in the United States celebrates Chinese New Year. It is also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival. It is the start of the Chinese lunar calendar’s new year, and it falls on the first day of the month, depending upon the new moon’s appearance. This new year appears between January 21 and February 20. It is a 15-day event that welcomes Spring and says goodbye to Winter in China.
The Chinese calendar is based on the moon phases and is one of the ancient in history, having been in use for five millennia. Every year is symbolized by a different Chinese astrological animal in Chinese culture. Every year, twelve different animals rotate through the system. The animals are Rat, Rooster, Dog, Ox, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Tiger, Rabbit, Monkey, and Pig. In 2022, this day will fall on 1st February and the animal sign is the tiger.
This day has been celebrated for almost 4,000 years, and it was traditionally a day to mark the end of Winter and the start of Spring. Therefore, it is linked to the agricultural cycle. The first day of the year in Chinese culture represents a new beginning and the prospect of a good harvest in the coming year.
The Chinese wear red, adorn their homes in the same color, and celebrate with fireworks and firecrackers to welcome the new year. They do this because as per Chinese history, hundreds of years ago, on the first day of the year, a creature named Nian, a lion-headed bull, would attack communities. Nian was supposed to be terrified of bright lights, loud noises, and the color red. So, the villagers utilized them to frighten him away. This became a custom that has continued to the present day.
The rituals and traditions of these celebrations are all about renewal, about letting go of the old and welcoming the new year in hope of good fortune, pleasure, and happiness. It’s a time to gather with friends and family, eat large feasts of delightful cuisine, send well wishes, and exchange gifts.
Customs And Traditions
This day is a beginning of a new year. As a result, in the week leading up to the festival, individuals clean their homes well to ward off bad luck. Showering is not permitted on New Year’s Day, so do all of this before the big day! Similarly, until the fifth day of the festival, no sweeping or waste disposal is permitted. This is to ensure that the good fortune is not washed away!
During this time period, there are a few things that everyone should avoid for the next 15 days. Getting a haircut, arguing, swearing, saying unfortunate words, using scissors or knives, and smashing things are all forbidden.
Traditionally, people were expected to eat dumplings every day during these celebrations, but this custom has faded. For Chinese families, the meal of New Year’s Eve is still the most important food of the year, and it is customary to visit different relatives to enjoy meals over the course of the next 15 days. These feasts are lavish and delectable, with a wide range of traditional Chinese cuisine and fine wine.
Each of the 15 days of the festival has its own set of rituals and celebrations. The Gods of Wealth, for example, are said to descend on the 5th day of the New Year, so people do worship and light firecrackers in their honor. The Festival of Lanterns is held on the 15th and last day of the New Year festival. On this day, paper lanterns are hung on the streets and in the homes and people bring them in parades too.
Various symbols are also utilized throughout the celebrations, each having its unique meaning:
- Red Envelopes are commonly filled with money and presented to youngsters or people who are unemployed. Typically, established married couples give these red envelopes to their single acquaintances, or elders give them to their offspring. Their goal is to transfer wealth and good fortune from the givers to the recipients.
- People think that the Chinese are descendants of the dragon, hence the dragon is a typical sign in Chinese culture. Dancing dragon performances are there during the festivities, as the dragon is thought to bring good fortune, prosperity, and happiness.
- Flowers, tangerines, and oranges are used to symbolize wealth and good fortune.
- The decorations are usually red, made of paper, and structured like a diamond, with words on them wishing good fortune and success.
Chinese New Year’s Celebrations
- Chinese populations in the United States have taken their customs and traditions with them, which they proudly display. These celebrations, as is customary, linger for several days.
- Spectacular parades with characters, carriages, and firecrackers are conducted. The iconic lion and dragon dances can be seen during these parades. Fireworks displays are very magnificent and have been a part of Chinese culture for a long time.
- Fun marathons walk, food shops and carnivals, and pageants promoting Chinese culture are held in cities with a bustling Chinatown.
The Bottom Line
The Chinese New Year in 2022 will be on February 1st, 2022. The animal sign is a tiger. Chinese citizens will have seven days off from work from January 31 to February 6 in 2022 as a public holiday. The celebrations generally run for 15 days, from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival. That is, from January 31st to February 15th in 2022.
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