The annual Chinese New Year celebrations are also known across the world as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. The Lunar New Year for 2021 begins this week, on Friday 12th February 2021. In 2022, we will celebrate the lunar New Year on the 1st of February.
The dates change every year because the festival is based on the Chinese Lunar calendar associated with the moon’s movement. In 2021, the people of China, as well as different cultures all around the world, will be welcoming in the Year of the Ox.
Everyone is born in a year with a zodiac sign relating to 12 different animals. Every 12 years the lunar circle completes and starts again. The year you are born in determines your zodiac year and that year is seen as a special year for you.
New Year is the most important time of the lunar calendar, not only for China but for other countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia. This festival lasts over two weeks and is made up of family gatherings, parties and temple offerings.
Maybe you’ve seen some typical Chinese New Year images, which include red lanterns and the loud bang of firecrackers. Buildings throughout the country, as well as Chinese quarters of cities all around the world, are painted red and decorated with red paper lanterns. Some people even wear red underwear in their zodiac year to avoid bad things and have luck for the whole year. Red is a popular colour in the Chinese culture, symbolizing luck, joy and happiness.
The dragon is present in many Chinese cultural celebrations as the Chinese people often think of themselves as descendants of the mythical creature. On the fifth day of the New Year when many people have to start going back to work, they will also have dancing dragons perform in front of the office building.
Called “hong bao” in Mandarin, the red envelopes filled with money are typically only given to children or unmarried adults with no job.
How is the Chinese New Year traditionally celebrated?
Chinese New year is a 15 – day celebration, and each day, many families rotate celebrations between their relatives’ homes. This is when the family spends time together. Chinese temples are the busiest on midnight of New Year’s Eve. Many people believe burning the year’s first incense and ringing the first bells will bring them the best guardians from the Buddha. The skies are filled with fireworks to ward off evil spirits after midnight. For the following two weeks, family celebrate together by praying, eating special meals and using firecrackers. The festivities continue for further 15 days until the final day, which is called The Lantern festival. The Lantern Festival will be celebrated on Friday, 26th February and traditionally marks the end of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) period. This is the time when people will go out to look at the moon, send up flying lanterns, fly bright drones and enjoy time spent together with their family and friends.
If you would like to find out more information about a Year of the Ox, please click on the following link:
To everybody who celebrates Lunar New Year, ISL wishes good luck for the Year of the Ox.