When is Chinese New Year?
The Chinese New Year is very similar to the Western one, swathed in traditions and rituals. The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself ancient and obscured by the amount of time. It is popularly recognised as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days.
To celebrate Chinese New Year, here are some interesting facts about this holiday.
15 Facts about Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year and the other Lunar New Year holidays are one of the most widely observed public holidays in the world with over one-sixth of the world's population celebrating.
The Chinese New Year is the longest public holiday in China, with students enjoying a month of winter vacation.
Though China enjoys several days of public holidays for Chinese New Year, the festival is celebrated for 15 days until the Lantern Festival, which takes place on the night of the first full moon.
Chinese New Year creates the world's largest annual migration. Known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush, the total trips taken each year exceed three billion.
Chinese New Year has been celebrated for over 4,000 years. Farmers started the holiday in China to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
Tradition says that Nian, a ferocious dragon that eats livestock and children, emerges from his hiding place on New Year's Eve, but is frightened off by the red decorations and banners and the sound of firecrackers!
Instead of wrapped gifts that other nationalities give at their main holiday season, for Chinese New Year, children receive red envelopes stuffed full of money. The amount of money is usually an even number - but the amount is not divisible by four, as the number 4 means death.
On the last day of the old year, food is prepared for the next two days so that all sharp instruments, such as knives and scissors, are placed in the drawer to avoid cutting the 'luck' of the New Year.
On the stroke of midnight on the Chinese New Year, every door and window in a Chinese house is opened to allow the old year to go out.
On Chinese New Year's Day, children are not punished even if they are misbehaving because, according to tradition, if children cry on this day, they will cry all year.
People will often eat noodles on the second day of the Lunar New Year as noodles represent longevity.
It is a custom not to clean your house or wash your hair during Chinese New Year, as it symbolizes washing away any good spirits/fortune that may come your way during the new year.
Eating fish to celebrate the Lunar New Year symbolizes wealth. Fish in Chinese has the same pronunciation as 'leftover' in the sense of leftover money.
The most common Chinese New Year greeting is "Guo Nian Hao" which means "Happy New Year."
If you are a bookworm, you might want to stock up on books and magazines before the start of the Spring Festival. The Chinese word for "book" (sh?) sounds exactly the same as the word for "lose" - so buying a book or getting one as a present at the start of the New Year is considered bad luck.
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