Chinese New Year: a celebration full of traditions and symbolism

Chinese New Year: a celebration full of traditions and symbolism

Chinese New Year
Here some fun facts
Chinese New Year

Unlike what happens in the West, in China, as in other Asian countries, the Chinese New Year is celebrated. Also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, this celebration, unique and full of symbolism, is characterized by a series of traditions.

CHINESE ZODIAC

In this culture, each year is represented by a different animal, corresponding to the Chinese zodiac. If 2023 was marked by the rabbit, this new year will have a new protagonist: The Dragon.

But why is it represented with animals? How does the Chinese calendar work?

The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, meaning it is based on the calculation of the movements of the Moon and the rotation of the Earth around the Sun.

Thus, each year has 12 or 13 months and the length of a month in the Chinese calendar is not fixed from one year to the next, as is the case in the Gregorian calendar. This means that there are 29 days in a short month, while there are 30 days in a long month. Hence, the dates of the Chinese New Year are different from year to year, and compared to the Gregorian calendar. Furthermore, to keep the calendar synchronized with the solar cycles, there is a leap month every two or three lunar years.

ANIMALS 

In ancient China, to number the years, the use of the titles of the emperors and the Ganzhi Celestial System was applied, thus in the year 2937 BC. C. the first Chinese lunar calendar was created.

Based on this Chinese lunar calendar, each sign consists of 60 years (time of the Yellow Emperor’s reign), distributed into five cycles of twelve years each. It was from the Eastern Han dynasty (25-220), when the Chinese began to use the twelve animal signs in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

What does Chinese New Year symbolize?

There is a legend, dating back to the 14th century BC, that claims that a monster from Chinese mythology, called Nian, attacked at the beginning of the year. As a counterattack and in response to the fear it generated, the inhabitants warded it off with loud lights and noises to protect their families. Over time, this has become a form of tribute to the consummation of another year. The Chinese New Year also marks the beginning of a succession of events combined with the cultural beliefs of the East that have become popular for their colorful red tones that, between lights and firecrackers, decorate the streets through a series of rituals that seek to ensure success in Next year.

Traditions

To celebrate, Chinese communities hold banquets, fireworks and parades, making the two weeks that correspond to the duration of the festivities a time of reflection and prayer to attract prosperity. A very important figure is the dragon, to mark the arrival of the full moon, a colorful puppet with that shape is generally used, who dances through the streets at the lantern festival.

Families often exchange gifts among themselves, giving money in red envelopes for good fortune, and sharing meals celebrated in the home of the oldest member of the group. Another custom is to gather to celebrate the Spring Festival, where the old is said goodbye and the new makes way.

Finally, and as expected, another tradition is the consumption of cherries, due to its color, flavor, and spherical shape, this fruit is one of the most popular gifts among families and friends in China, meaning good fortune and prosperity.

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