Updated: Feb 4
Chinese New Year, also known as the spring festival or new lunar year, celebrated by Chinese communities all over the world.
It is the festival of family reunions, gatherings, feasts, and festivities. On the New Year Eve, after a big supper, when the clock strikes midnight, firecrackers along with marvelous fireworks start the year. The sounds of the firecrackers are believed to keep the evil spirits away. The louder the noise of firecrackers more the chances of bad spirits or bad luck passing far away from the individual, the house, or that area.
This is thousands of year-old traditions, in which people must visit their parents, if alive. In China alone, 450 million people move inside the country just to be with their families. The government arranges extra trains to make sure everybody should get home in time safely. Many people prefer to travel by train, as this is an affordable and reliable source of transport during the Spring Festival. Some people still couldn’t get train tickets and try to use private means of transport, like bikes, cars etc. On the roads, special safety measures are put, as well as local traffic police ensures their safety and well-being.
There are 12 animals after which each year is named, so repeating the cycle after every 12 years. In order, the 12 Chinese horoscope animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2020 is a year of the Rat. The zodiac is represented by the person’s year of birth and not by the month in which the person is born. Each year comes after a 12-year turn, as there are twelve animal years. The person born in their respective year must take care to avoid making certain decisions and to keep him/her away from anything supposed to bring bad luck. To do that mostly a person of the present year will wear something red, hidden probably, e.g. socks, etc. The red in Chinese culture is associated with keeping bad luck away. These are the believes pass down from generation to generation over thousands of Chinese cultures.
Since the rise of the Chinese economy and their harmony with the rest of the world, many governments started to celebrate Chinese New Year officially, e.g. New York, Australia (Sydney), etc.
Many Chinese now have started to travel abroad on their new year’s vacations, which mostly last for 15 days. There are hustle and bustle all-around Spring Festival. Many gifts are exchanged, and red envelopes are sent to the youngsters. People wine and dine in festive moods and try to forget about the worries of tomorrow, just by engaging with families and close friends or relatives. Right after the start of the New Year, on the 4th day, usually, people don’t go out of their homes as old customs forbid them to. On the 7th day they pay respect to their ancestors or recently dead relatives.
As in Chinese culture and traditions, families are closely knitted, this the best time of the year to show affection and love towards each other. Chinese are mostly very polite people and introverted too. Nobody in the family will try to stress others by showing their worries, especially at this time of the year; in doing so they get emotionally exhausted sometimes but will do it at all costs. Now the times are changing, parents are engaging more with their kids to open up because they once knew the cost of keeping their feelings to themselves.
In Chinese tradition, it’s a rarity to ask for help from a close friend or loved ones, even when in trouble, especially financial help. If you ask them for help, they will always try their best to help you, but somehow will not ask themselves. It is not clear whether it’s pride or related to the customs, but as they are opening up and crossing cultures, they are changing fast and changing for the betterment of their culture and traditions.
Happy Chinese’s new year 2020.