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Chinese New Year:

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival (simplified Chinese: 春节; traditional Chinese: 春節; pinyin: Chūn Jié) in modern China, often called the Lunar New Year in Asia, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The year of the Dog starts on Friday, 16 February 2018.

It is one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated festivals, with the largest annual mass human migration in the world. It is a major holiday in China and has had strong influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, including Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius, Australia, and the Philippines.

The New Year festival is centuries old and associated with several myths and customs. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Lunar New Year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Lunar New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. In about one third of the Mainland population, or 500 million Northerners, dumplings feature prominently in the meals celebrating the festival.

Here’s video about the Spring Festival:

 

Mythology: 

Hand-written Chinese New Year’s poetry pasted on the sides of doors leading to people’s homes, Lijiang, Yunnan

According to tales and legends, the beginning of the Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would eat villagers, especially children. One year, all the villagers decided to go hide from the beast. An old man appeared before the villagers went into hiding and said that he’s going to stay the night, and decided to get revenge on the Nian. All the villagers thought he was insane. The old man put red papers up and set off firecrackers. The day after, the villagers came back to their town to see that nothing was destroyed. They assumed that the old man was a deity who came to save them. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red and loud noises. When the New Year was about to come, the villagers would wear red clothes, hang red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu’s mount.

Here’s an interesting video of the legends regarding the Spring Festival.

 

You’re welcome to learn more about the festival .

 

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