We’re still celebrating the start of the New Year! This time, we explore the facts and fun behind the Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year.
Even though there are still ice, snow, and wintry temperatures across much of the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve passed the Winter Solstice, and now the days are getting longer…a sure sign that spring is on the way.
People in China and around the world celebrate the promise of spring with a Lunar New Year Celebration.
This festival welcoming the new year is the most important holiday in Chinese culture.
Since the lunar calendar is calculated on the phases of the moon, the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year begins on the first new moon of the lunar calendar cycle. The New Year can start on any day from January 21 through February 20.
January 25 marks the start of the Chinese New Year 2020, the Year of the Rat.
The Chinese New Year celebration is one of the many Festivals of Light celebrated around the world to mark the end of the dark winter months and the beginning of spring.
Preparations for the festival begin with a frenzy of cleaning! In order to start the new year off with a fresh home, people spend the days leading up to the new moon in sweeping, wiping, and decluttering.
Once New Year’s Day arrives, no one touches a broom so as to not sweep away the good luck they welcomed in the night before.
To light up the night and drive away monsters and bad spirits and welcome good luck the next morning, the celebrants set off fireworks in enormous displays of color and designs on New Year’s Eve. The light and sound signal the start of a prosperous and safe new year.
The night also features parades with lion dances and fanciful dragons weaving their way through the crowds.
Family time plays a huge part in the Chinese New Year holiday. Since many parents and grandparents live in rural China, the Spring Festival is a busy time for travel, with people heading out into the countryside to welcome the new year with their family.
And, since family time is so important, schools and businesses close for several days so people can be with their loved ones.
But the Chinese New Year isn’t held only in China. The celebration is enjoyed all over the world.
Kids get gifts during the holiday, including red envelopes with money! This exchange symbolizes passing on good fortune from parents to kids, but can also occur between friends or even bosses and employees.
The envelopes are red, and so are most of the decorations, as red is considered the color of luck, and another way to drive away monsters and evil spirits.
Food plays a huge part in the Chinese New Year celebrations. Dumplings, noodle soup, spring rolls, egg rolls, and soup with rice balls are featured on the holiday menu.
The desserts are yummy, too! Rice cakes and sponge cakes play their part as a finishing touch to the holiday meals.
The festivities continue for 15 days until the full moon, and that night features the beautiful Lantern Festival which marks the last day of the holiday.
With dances, performances, and more good food, this wrap-up to the Chinese New Year celebration is a beautiful display of culture and tradition.
You can explore delicious Chinese cuisine in our eat2explore China box which includes three recipes sure to delight, just in time to enjoy the Lunar New Year in your kitchen!