Chinese New Year: A Celebration of Tradition and Family
Happy Chinese New Year! Today, January 31st, marks the first day of the Year of the Horse on the lunar calendar, which is believed to bring prosperity and wealth. Also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, the holiday is considered one of the most important traditional Chinese holidays, which holds a deep significance to families. Not solely confined to China, the Lunar New Year is celebrated across the world in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations. It’s also not confined to one day – celebrations continue for 15 days throughout the world.
For good health and good fortune / Kenny Louie, Flickr
Rich in tradition and symbolism, the holiday is a time for families to come together and honor our ancestors. Large feasts are comprised of traditional dishes of fish, meats and vegetables, with each dish representing good fortune in the coming year. Oranges, an important symbol of luck and fortune, can be found in abundance during the celebrations. Sweet candies and moon cakes are also served to give more good luck and good fortune.
The color red plays a significant role during the New Year celebrations. It is believed the color will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune and bring good luck to those who wear it. The gifting of the famous ‘red envelopes’ is perhaps every child’s favorite part of the holiday. Parents and adults will gift little red envelopes with ‘lucky’ money to little children. The amount is always an even number, as odd numbers are associated with cash given at funerals.
The burning of paper money
One of the most significant traditions of the holiday is the burning of paper money and other fake valuable items in honor of deceased family members. By doing this, it is believed that these items will be passed on to our ancestors in the afterlife, where they can use these valuable items. This tradition is important for families to come together to honor their ancestors, wish them well and pray they bring the family good fortune in the new year.
For many, the holiday represents a time to remember our past, come together as a family, and look forward to what the next year will bring. To everyone celebrating, we wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!