The Chinese New Year marks the first day of the year in the Chinese calendar; different from the traditional Gregorian or American calendar. This Chinese holiday is also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. Traditional Chinese celebrations for the New Year can last up to 15 days.
There are many different symbols and traditions affiliated with the New Year in Chinese culture. Flowers are a staple for decorations, especially the plum blossom which symbolizes courage and hope, as well as the water narcissus, symbolizing good luck and fortune. Homes and businesses are often covered in writings that relate to good luck. Traditionally these writings are brushed on a diamond-shaped red piece of paper. Also a sign of good luck and health, tangerines and oranges are used for decorations in homes and businesses.
The color red is said to ward off evil spirits, and many New Year symbols and traditions incorporate this color. Red also is symbolic for happiness, good luck, success, and good fortune. In addition, each New Year in the Chinese culture is associated with a single animal, one of the 12 found in the Chinese zodiac.
Traditions and Activities
Out of all of the Chinese festivals, the New Year is the most important and most celebrated in all Chinese communities all over the globe. During this time, activities include offerings to household deities, the wearing of new clothes, especially red ones, hosting large banquets for family and friends, as well as taking part in lion and dragon dances. Many festive parades are put on that feature the clashing of symbols, beating of gongs, and acrobatic feats. The doors in houses are left open to let good luck be ushered in along with the New Year. Red envelopes filled with “lucky money” are also given to children. Many also celebrate with a lantern festival, carrying lanterns to a nighttime parade or decorating with hanging lanterns.
A Public Holiday
The New Year is a holiday recognized by the Chinese government, lasting for a few days. The governments of Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, North Korea, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia also recognize the Chinese New Year as a public holiday. While Australia, Canada, America, and the United Kingdom do not federally recognize this Chinese tradition, some businesses will choose individually to close early and some communities may have festivals or parades.
When is the Chinese New Year?
For the Chinese, the New Year dates back to around 2600 to 3000 BCE and is said to have been created by Emperor Huangdi. The Chinese calendar is based on astronomical observations, such as the phases of the moon and the sun’s longitude. The first day of the New Year is the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month. For 2015, it will begin on February 19th.
The New Year is an exciting time for anyone in the Chinese culture, and surrounding communities. It is a time of hope, celebration, and festivity, with fun and festivities for all ages. Anyone outsourcing manufacturing to China can benefit from knowing about the New Year in China, as it makes a huge impact on production dates and schedules.