08 Feb Chinese New Year 2016 Good Luck Traditions: The Old and The New
Monday, February 8 of the year 2016 is the date of Chinese New Year based on the Chinese lunar calendar. Also known as Spring Festival in China, it is the most important tradition festival in China and is also being celebrated all over the world where Chinese people are present.
Chinese New Year 2016 is a Monkey Year. This is according to the Chinese 12-year animal zodiac cycle along with past monkey years 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2004. If you were born on the said years, then definitely you’re a born monkey. And take note, this year might be an unlucky year for you for monkey years are believed to be the most unlucky for people born in the year of the monkey.
Chinese people started celebrating the Chinese New Year for the reasons of celebrating a year of hard work, to have a good rest and spend relaxation time with family, and to wish for a lucky and flourishing coming year. This is based on their belief that a good year start will lead to a lucky year, like when most of them were farmers, they traditionally celebrate the start of a new farm work year wishing for a good harvest. And this has now evolved to celebrating that start of a new year of business work wishing for profits and success.
Traditional activites are still being performed by most of those that celebrate this festival. These activities include eating a reunion dinner with family, lighting up firecrackers, handing red envelopes, wearing red clothes and displaying red decorations (may incorporate monkey-related forms).
- During Chinese New Year, every street, building and house are being decorated with red. Being the main color for the festival, red is believed to an auspicious color and is incorporated in every decor from lanterns, couplets, and posters.
- This festival is the most important celebration among Chinese families with the New year’s eve dinner being called as “reunion dinner” which is believed to be the most important meal of the year.
- In welcoming the new year, there are cultural activities being arranged during the festival. In rural areas and small towns, they do setting off firecrackers as well, then ancestor worship and dragong dances. Lion dances, dragon dances and imperial performances like that of emperor’s wedding can be observed at temple fairs held in parks with traditional Chinese products and strange Chinese snacks being offered.
- Lucky foods eaten during the festival are said to bring and increase luck in the year ahead such as fish, dumplings, glutinous rice cakes, sweet rice balls and spring rolls.
- Praying in temples during the festival is said to be a blessed activity. Some do this to receive a year-long blessing.
- Similar with Christmas, exchanging gifts is also an activity during the Chinese New Year. Red envelopes are the most common gifts being given hoping for giving good luck to the receiver.
There are also superstitions being considered and still believed by Chinese people that may bring bad luck for those who do the following during the month before the festival and up to the end of the festival:
- Cleaning or washing one’s hair in the first three days which is believed to wash away good luck.
- Begging, or asking for loan.
- Crying of a child may bring bad luck to the family so make sure to appease the young.
But now that we are in an advanced generation, there are also modern activities being done during the Chinese New year. These modern activities include sending greeting messages through cell phones, exchanging red envelopes through apps, and interestingly, renting fake boy/girlfriend. The latter is for those “old” singles as a solution from them getting embarrassing interrogations from their parents during the New Year’s Eve.
Make sure you wear red undies. Not kidding for red underwears are being sold at supermarkets and street markets. With red which is believed to ward off misfortune, a must-to-wear among people born in the Year of the Monkey.
There may be a lot of activities during the Chinese New Year Festival yet one must not forget the very essence of celebrating this said yearly event. Gong Xi Fa Cai!