Celebrating Chinese New Year

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Brian Hennessy. Cairns, Australia. January, 2023

Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it is known locally, is China’s longest and most important festival. It begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon, 15 days later.

Chinese New Year 2023 is the year of the Rabbit starting from January 22, 2023 and lasting to February 09, 2024.

Every year has a zodiac animal: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Positive traits of these animals are bestowed on people born in that year. 

The Rabbit represents longevity, discretion and good luck. People born under the sign of the Rabbit are kind-hearted, friendly, intelligent, cautious, skillful, gentle, quick and live long. They dislike fighting and like to find solutions through compromise and negotiation. On the negative side, Rabbit people have the potential to be superficial, stubborn, melancholy and overly-discreet.

 

Celebrating Chinese New Year 

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How do Chinese people celebrate Spring Festival?

Prior to Spring Festival in China, houses are cleaned in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for incoming good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red paper-cuts and characters spelling out themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity. Further, any outstanding debts are repaid to make sure that the New Year begins with a clean slate.

And all over the country, millions of relatives will travel long distances in overcrowded buses and trains (and by air) to return to their hometown and reunite with family.

Chinese people value family – the Confucian bedrock of this ancient society – and at the beginning of Spring Festival the extended family will gather together for a celebratory banquet.

After the meal, everyone will relax by playing mah-jong, eating leftovers from the banquet, and watching variety shows on TV. Later on, absent relatives will be visited, money will be given in red envelopes, and firecrackers and rockets will be lit in order to banish any bad spirits which might have been hanging around. 

During this time individuals will speak kind words to each other because they believe that bad words spoken at the beginning of the year may attract bad luck for the rest of the year. It is important to celebrate the new year with correct behaviour and good intentions.

Xin nian kuaile (Happy New Year); and Gong xi fa cai (Hope you will be rich).

Happy Chinese New year to everybody!

 

 

 

 

 

Published in the Cairns Post. January 27, 2020

 

 

 

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