How To: Celebrate the Chinese New Year
By Ally Kampel
Different from the United States, Chinese New Year is not celebrated on a specific date. The Chinese New Year is based on a lunar-solar calendar and phases of the moon. There are fifteen days of parties, fasting, praying, and honoring ancestors that make up the Chinese New Year. This year, 2014, is the year of the horse and the New Year began January 31.
On the Eve of the Chinese New Year, cleaning the house is a tradition that represents a cleansing of the past and a welcoming of the New Year. Decorations are hung all around the house, which include mostly red lanterns and paintings. A big dinner is also celebrated with extended family. Fish is typically served at the dinner, along with dumplings, Tang Yuan, which is flour and rice balls, LaBa congee, a mixture of rice and beans, and a New Year Cake. After midnight, fireworks are set off to drive away any evil. Some believe that the person who sets off the fireworks will have good luck for the year. Staying up for most of the night and lighting fires is another tradition called Shou Sui. There are Chinese legends that say there was a mythical beast called “Year”. On New Year’s Eve, “Year” supposedly comes out and harms people and animals, but he is afraid of the color red, loud noises, and fire.
Photo credit to Creative Commons.