The Chinese New Year that is celebrated for about fifteen days is one moment in the year when the whole nation feels united as they can imagine each other’s enjoyment. The Chinese New Year gets determined by the chinese new year calendar and therefore it is sometimes called the Lunar New Year.

History of the Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year has a great history. In other traditions, by this time in the year, most resolutions – made on December 31 – have been subtly forgotten and placed in a cupboard marked “maybe next year.” However, all hope is not lost, as there’s a second chance to start afresh with the celebration of Chinese New Year on February 12th.

The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself centuries old – in fact, too old to actually be traced. It is popularly recognised as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.

Preparations tend to begin a month from the date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck, and doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red. The doors and windows are then decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them.

The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part of the event, as anticipation creeps in. Here, traditions and rituals are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes. Delicacies include prawns, for liveliness and happiness, dried oysters (or ho xi), for all things good, raw fish salad or yu sheng to bring good luck and prosperity, Fai-hai (Angel Hair), an edible hair-like seaweed to bring prosperity, and dumplings boiled in water (Jiaozi) signifying a long-lost good wish for a family. It’s usual to wear something red as this colour is meant to ward off evil spirits – but black and white are out, as these are associated with mourning. After dinner, the family sit up for the night playing cards, board games or watching TV programmes dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks.

On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red Packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. Then the family begins to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then their neighbours. Like the Western saying “let bygones be bygones,” at Chinese New Year, grudges are very easily cast aside.

The end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns, which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows.

Chinese Calendar

The Chinese Lunar New Year is the longest chronological record in history, dating from 2600BC, when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. Like the Western calendar, The Chinese Lunar Calendar is a yearly one, with the start of the lunar year being based on the cycles of the moon. Therefore, because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. This year it falls on February 12th. A complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived. The Chinese believe the animal ruling the year in which a person is born has a profound influence on personality, saying: “This is the animal that hides in your heart.”

Chinese New Year Dates and Animal in the Following Years

January 23, 2012  Dragon

February 10, 2013  Snake

January 31, 2014  Horse

February 19, 2015  Ram/Sheep

February 9, 2016  Monkey

January 28, 2017  Rooster

February 16, 2018  Dog

February 5, 2019  Boar

January 25, 2020  Rat

Chinese New Year Eve

New Year’s Eve is spent by bidding farewell to the old year and thanking one’s ancestors and the gods for their blessing and protection. Children who have left their hometowns return on this day to share New Year’s Eve Dinner with their families, and for those unable to make the journey, a table setting is placed to symbolize their presence in spirit if not in body. At the end of dinner, the parents and older generation give New Year’s money to the children, who have been waiting with growing anticipation for this moment to arrive. Finally, to watch the old year out and bring in the new year, families stay up until the wee hours of New Year’s Day.

Chinese New Year Dinner

Chinese New Year Dish is a showcase of the feelings of love and respect harbored by the Chinese people for their culture. In China, New Year is a pretext of family reunion, where folks of the family gather for feast and acknowledge the spirits of their forefathers. During the celebrations, traditions and customs are very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Traditionally dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, symbolizing prosperity and good wishes. Chinese New Year Dish includes prawns for liveliness and pleasure, dried oysters for all things good in life, raw fish salad to usher in good luck and prosperity, dumplings boiled in water signifying a long-lost good wish for a family and Fai-hai (Angel Hair), edible hair-like seaweed to bring prosperity for the family.

Dishes served on the Chinese New Year also have special significance because of the way the Chinese word for it sounds. For instance, in Canton provinces of China, the word for lettuce sounds like rising luck and fortune, so it is very popular to serve a lettuce wrap filled with other lucky dishes. Other common dish pomelo, the ancestor of the grapefruit signifies abundance, as the Chinese word for pomelo sounds like the word for “to have”. Tangerines and oranges are gifted during Chinese New Year as the words for tangerine and orange sound like luck and wealth, respectively.

Chinese New Year Fireworks

Chinese New Year Fireworks complete the celebration of the New Year in China. There are many opinions regarding the importance of fireworks. The Chinese New Year is the most significant festival for the Chinese people as it is that time of the year when all family members get together to have a gala time, just like Christmas in the West. Like other countries, Chinese New Year is too swathed in age old beliefs and rituals. The fireworks on the New Year in china have a deep significance as they share an unshakable bond with the deep rooted Chinese traditions and culture.

There are many opinions regarding the importance of Chinese New Year Firecrackers. One popular belief is that the noise will wake up the dragon that will fly across the sky to bring the spring rain for the crops. Being a country where majority of the people depend on agriculture, timely arrival of showers are of great importance in China

Another belief is that the exploding noise of the firecrackers will scare away all evil spirits and misfortunes, preventing them from coming into the New Year. In the Chinese New Year Parade, it is customary to throw firecrackers at the feet of the dragons in the parade to keep them awake for the celebration. Around the dragon dance in the parade, lots and lots of firecrackers are set off to they drive away the evil spirits.

Chinese New Year Gifts

It is customary to commemorate special events in life with the ritual of gift -giving and Chinese New Year is no exception. One very important tradition of the Chinese New Year is the ritual of exchanging gifts. Chinese New Year Gifts capture the ethos of Chinese culture and the established ways of life in China. Boasting a history of 5000 years from stone carving to contemporary high tech gadgets, China displays the world’s most artistic culture.

It isn’t possible to seize the essence of such a vast and vivid culture. But Chinese New Year Gifts are credited by serving as a medium to showcase much of the quintessence of Chinese culture and the tradition. Chinese New Year Gifts run a gamut from Lanterns, Chop Sticks, Cane Umbrellas, T/Shirts, Dragon Heads, Fans, Bamboo Hats, Statues, Postcards and many other wonderful items.

An ancient custom which has an important role in Chinese New Year is Hong Bao. This involves gifting small red envelopes filled with “lucky money”. These envelopes are given to children and unmarried adults by the married couples. The red color is considered to bring good fortune, and the money inside the envelope is used by them to buy holiday treats.

Apart from the traditional “lucky money” there are other gifts that can be gifted on the Chinese New Year. Usually Chinese people prefer practical and useful gifts over fancy items. So, high tech gadgets like digital planners, laptops, ipods, organizers, digital calendars, cameras and many more stuffs will be welcome gifts as they will assist the recipients in their daily chores. Wine is another popular choice for gifts. Medium Dry Wine, Great Wall Dry Wine, Dry Red Wine, Medium Sweet Wine are some of the famous wines that are apt for gift giving. Chinese calligraphy is one of the great form of art so Chinese calligraphy art works are great gift ideas. Flowers and blooming plants are considered lucky in China as they signify rebirth and new growth. One can even send the greetings of prosperity in the coming year with the fresh blooms. These are some of the gift ideas to delight all the near and dear ones on this Chinese New Year.

Why red during chinese new year

Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is believed that appearance and attitude during New Year’s sets the tone for the rest of the year. Children and unmarried friends, as well as close relatives are given lai see, little red envelopes with crisp one dollar bills inserted, for good fortune.

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. According to legend, in ancient China, Nian (“Nyan”), a man-eating beast from the mountains, could infiltrate houses silently to prey on humans. The people later learned that Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the color red. So “Guo Nian” actually means “Surviving the Nian”. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations 

Chinese New Year Wishes

Given below are some of the most popular New Year Wishes that you can send to your loves ones and make them feel wanted that can either be whispered in their ears or just written on a card.
Popular New Year Wishes

恭喜发财 Gong Xi Fa Cai – May you be prosperous!
万事如意 Wan Shi Ru Yi – everything goes well !

1. Send this warm and inspiring thought to begin your dear ones’ New Year in a wonderful way.

2.Add the warmth of your love and care to the New Year of your dear ones by sending them this ecard.

3. Open up the doors to new joys for your near and dear ones with this motivating New Year wish.

4. A beautiful card to inspire all your loved ones.