15 Interesting Facts About Chinese New Year

Gung Hei Fat Choy!

1. Global festival: Chinese New Year is not only celebrated in China, but by many other countries in Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia.

2. Lunar calendar: The date of Chinese New Year changes every year because the Chinese use the Lunar calendar, which is based on the time it takes the moon to go around the earth.

3. Year of the Monkey: There are twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each New Year is represented by an animal. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. People who are born under the Year of the Monkey may want to see what this year has in store for them, so an online tarot card reading may be the way to go for interesting predictions.

4. “Gung Hei Fat Choy”: How to say Happy New Year in Chinese.

5. Spring cleaning before the New Year holidays begin: People will do a complete cleaning of the house ‘to remove the old and welcome the new’. Once they have contacted somewhere like this Austin house cleaning service to do any cleaning they want leaving to the professionals, to add extra luck when the house is clean, it is common for people to add small red decoration such as a sticking a small piece of paper to furniture and other belongings.

6. No work shall be done during New Year holidays: The cleaning is done before because it is believed people should not do any work during the New Year as it is holiday time and people should enjoy the time with loved ones.

7. Fruits of luck: The days during the Chinese New Year holiday are spent visiting family and friends and it is customary to offer fruits of luck such as oranges and apples when visiting. Also many will turn these fruits into a delicious dessert called Tanghulu, which is fruit dipped into a sugary syrup to make a candied piece of fruit. Traditional and tasty!

8. Family reunion: Chinese New Year is often treated as a time for family reunions and to celebrate everyone coming together the New Year’s Eve Dinner is very important. It is often a home-cooked meal with fish, dumplings, and other favorites.

9. Fireworks wards off evil spirits: “Shou Sui” means “after the New Year’s Eve dinner” and during this time family and friends will stay awake until midnight to watch the fireworks. It is believed the bright red color, fire, and loud sounds ward off evil spirits.

10. The colour red also keeps evil spirits away: Red is often used for decoration and many people also dress in the colour because it is believed red symbolizes fire and keeps evil spirits away.

11. Ang Pow: Red envelopes (commonly known as “ang pow”) containing money are often given to family members as a sign of blessing and good luck for the new year.

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12. Dragon Dance: The Dragon Dance is significant because it is believed the loud drumming and cymbals keep evil spirits away.

13. Lanterns are significant: Red decorative lanterns are often hung on the streets and outsides homes because it is believed they symbolize vitality, social status, and good luck. They are decorated with beautiful images, Chinese characters and have paper hanging with riddles on them.

14. One festival to mark the end of another: Chinese New Year is actually a 15 day festival the end of which is marked by the Lantern Festival on the first full moon.

15. Riddles and food: During the Lantern Festival people often walk the streets and guess the lantern riddles by pulling the paper off the lantern and checking their answer with the owner. If they solve the tricky riddles with answers, they can win a small prize. And the festival is not over before one indulges in ‘tangyuan’ – a dumpling made of glutinous rice flour with rose petals, sesame, bean paste, dried fruit, walnut meat, and jujube paste.

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