The Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year, is one of the biggest celebrations in Chinese culture. It is a long celebration that lasts for 15 days. Because it depends on the moon cycle - Chinese New Year is on the first New Moon of the year - it comes on a different day each year and is considered to be the beginning of Spring.
Each year, as you probably know, has a specific Chinese zodiac animal, as well as a feng shui element associated with it. This determines the quality of energy in the New Year.
- 2013 is the Year of the Water Snake. It starts on February 10, 2013.
How can you best celebrate the Chinese New Year? It is always helpful to clean your home thoroughly, as well as use some space clearing to assure the feng shui energy in your home is clear and fresh. Be sure to do all the cleaning before the New Year's Day and refrain from cleaning in the first few days of the New Year, as this is considered bad luck.
Traditionally, here are the main elements of the Chinese New Year celebration:
- HOME DECOR. After thoroughly cleansing the home, Chinese people will decorate it with auspicious red color decor items carrying golden inscriptions with the symbols of Happiness, Longevity, Prosperity, etc. Various flowers, such as Chrysanthemum, Lucky Bamboo, Plum Blossoms and others are used in the Chinese New Year home decor according to the specific meaning of each flower.
You will also see the mystic knot symbol used in numerous decor items, as well as images of many ancient gods venerated in Chinese culture, such as Guan Yu, the God of War and Justice, the Jade Emperor, as well as the very popular Kitchen God.
Basically, all the efforts are directed towards creating clean and harmonious energy in your home in order to welcome the blessings of the New Year.
- WHAT TO WEAR.
Most Chinese people will also wear new clothes for the New Year celebration to honour the birth of fresh, new energy. Many will also wear clothing in specific colors to win the favors of the ruling zodiac sign/animal of the New Year.
How do you know what colors to wear for the celebration? It's easy.
- FOOD. The big dinner is sure an important part of this beautiful celebration, and there is a variety of traditional dishes that are prepared specifically for the Chinese New Year. Many of these dishes are served because of their meaning and association with specific energies, as well as on specific days of this long celebration.
For example "fish" in Cantonese sounds like "abundance", so there is always a fish dish at the Chinese New Year celebration. The uncut noodles symbolize long life, while the many sweet dishes are expressions of hope for sweetness in the New Year. You can look up the recipes for some of the most popular Chinese New Year dishes, such as:
- Steamed Whole Fish
- Longevity Noodles
- Buddha's Delight: Jai Vegetarian Dish
- Jiaozi - Chinese Dumplings
- SOCIAL CUSTOMS. The morning after the New Year's day many traditional red envelopes with a bit of money in them are given to children and friends. This symbolises a helping hand from the older generation to the younger one, as well as wishes for prosperity and financial well-being. Small gifts are also exchanged between family members and friends.
You might be familiar with the lion dance, which is often performed during the Chinese New Year in both businesses, as well as some homes. The meaning of the lion dance is to evict and neutralize all negative energy from the previous year. The firecrackers during this celebration have the same purpose of evicting the evil spirits.
Traditionally, the Chinese New Year celebration lasts for 15 days with the festival of Lanterns being the culmination of this big holiday. This is the day when numerous candles are lit on the streets of Chinese communities to symbolize the coming of a fresh new light of the New Year. The beautiful sight of many red paper lanterns with a gentle flickering of fire in them is a welcoming symbol of the hopes and wishes for a beneficial New Year.
As you see, the Chinese New Year is a very beautiful celebration rooted in centuries of traditions with very specific symbolic meaning. You can either use the Chinese symbolism of the elements that most appeal to you, or create your own way of celebrating and welcoming the energy of a New Year.
What matters the most is that you genuinely celebrate a New Year, be it in a traditional Chinese way or not. Being genuine and sincere always wins the favor of Gods!