Yes, another year has passed and if we look at the calendar, we only have 11 months to go itill 2017! But now its about 2016!
Even though many of us have already celebrated the start of a New Year, an ancient tradition tells us that the first day of the year is the new moon, somewhere between the 21st of January and the 20th of February. This is when the Spring Festival starts in China, ready to last for 15 days!
There are so many wonderful traditions connected to the start of the Chinese New Year, we simply need to share with you at least a few. There is also a surprisingly long list of traditions and customs that are similar to the ones in the western part of the world, however, within China, these vary widely. The beauty of these traditions, however, lies in the beliefs and superstitions behind them.
The New Year’s Eve Dinner is the most important dinner of the year for the Chinese and it is the time when members of the family gather together not only to eat, but also to prepare the food. One of the most significant dishes are the dumplings, which everybody makes together, for a sense of reunion. Togetherness is also celebrated by spending time after midnight (Shou Sui), launching fireworks in order to drive away the evil, that comes in the shape of a beast called the “Year”, who is afraid of fire and loud sounds! Wealth and prosperity are usually invited in the community by couples and elderly people, who offer children Red Packets (yasuiqian) containing money.
Just a few days before this special holiday, people do a complete cleaning of their houses. In this way, they remove the old from their environment, creating space for everything new. In the past, when bathing wasn’t a daily habit, people would take a bath before the New Year! Cleaning yourself on the first day of the New Year, is, however prohibited, as it can wash away the good luck!
In 2016, on the 8th of February, according to the calendar, we will enter the Year of the Monkey! Predictions? Unfortunately, we would need to know your own Chinese Zodiac sign to tell you how this Year of the Monkey will be like for you. The Chinese Horoscope is fun and interesting to read, so why not have a look here http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/social_customs/zodiac/ and see what zodiac sign your are, if you don’t know already!
Superstitious or not, make sure you won’t miss the London celebrations of the Chinese New Year in London, on the 14th of February, in Trafalgar Square, China Town and across the West End! Just like every year, we shall be delighted by a wonderful parade featuring dragons, acrobats, lion dances, monkey jumps and lots and lots of colours!
Happy New Year!!!