Cultural Bytes | Interactive Language Program

Chinese (Lunar) New Year

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Lunar New Year, as the name suggests, is calculated based on the time the moon takes to revolve around the earth. Chinese New Year usually falls in January or February of the Gregorian calendar. You also sometimes hear people refer to the Lunar New Year as the Spring Festival. The Spring Festival is one of the four traditional festivals in China. People gather with their families on this day to celebrate the New Year.

Customs

Chinese (Lunar) New Year 2022 TIGER

The celebration activities during the Spring
Festival are extremely rich and varied.

During the Spring Festival, various activities are held all over the country. Due to different regional cultures, there are differences in customs content or details with strong regional characteristics. The celebration activities during the Spring Festival are extremely rich and varied, including lion dance, floating color, dragon dance, temple fairs, flower street shopping, lantern viewing, fireworks burning, praying for blessings, eating group dinner, and paying New Year’s greetings and so on. The Spring Festival folk customs are diverse in form and rich in content and are a concentrated display of the essence of the life and culture of the Chinese nation. 

Traditions

There are many traditional customs during Lunar New Year, and lucky money is one of the traditional customs of the year. After the New Year’s Eve’s dinner, the elders would distribute the prepared Lunar New Year lucky money in a Chinese red envelope to the younger generation. People believe that the lucky money can suppress evil spirits, and the younger generation can live a year in peace with the lucky money in a Chinese red envelope. Lucky money in folk culture means to ward off evil spirits and exorcise ghosts and bless peace. The original purpose of Lunar New Year lucky money was to suppress evil and exorcise evil spirits. Because people think that children are vulnerable to sneaky attacks, they use lucky money to exorcise evil spirits.

Chinese Zodiacs

There are 12 Chinese zodiacs. They are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. One cycle every 12 years, and one year is represented by one Chinese zodiac. The year 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. Babies born on or after the Spring Festival are tiger babies. Babies born before the Spring Festival are still the 2021 zodiac sign – Ox.

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