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Chinese New Year 2012

Facts and trivia about the holiday
by Helen Van on 5 April 2013

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Transcript of Chinese New Year 2012

Lunar New Year Traditions History Animals of the Chinese Zodiac Holiday Greetings Colors Holiday preparations Symbolism Plants and Flowers Food Decorations Legends Traditional vs Modern Kitchen God Gold symbolizes power
Red symbolizes happiness Traditionally, the household should have live blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth
Flowers symbolize wealth
A plant that blooms on New Year's Day foretells a year of prosperity! 恭喜發財 Gōngxi fācái!
"Wishing you joy! Be prosperous!"
(Traditional greeting)

Gōnghè xīnxi!
"Hapy New Year"
(Traditional greeting)

Niánnián youyú!
"Wishing you prosperity every year"
(Traditional greeting)

Xīnnián kuàilè!
"Happy New Year!"
(Contemporary greeting) Year of the Dragon
January 23, 2012 Days before the New Year, houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck.
Doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red.
Everyone tries to pay all of their debts before the start of the new year. Foods served at New Year have symbolic meaning. The shape, color and even the sound of the word of the food symbolize the hopes of the New Year: happiness, prosperity, luck.

In the past, sugar was scarce, so sweets were a luxury. Doors and windows are decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them. Lucky Money "Hóng bāo" (red packet) filled with "lucky money" is given by adults to children.
Amounts are in even multiples
The number four is avoided because the pronunciation for the number in Chinese sounds like "death"
The amounts are usually small, more as a token of a good luck Nowadays "lucky money" may come in higher amounts or include substituting money-like gifts (stocks, bonds and trusts) in place of cash. Dumplings signify good wish for a family. The shape of the dumplings resemble ancient Chinese money. Green vegetables symbolize close family ties. Whole chicken with head, feet and neck to represent rebirth and renewed life Honoring Ancestors Instead of a full two week celebration, most people today would celebrate around their work schedule, on the first day, in the evenings or on the weekends. Lettuce represents wealth in the new year Mushrooms represent coins signifying riches and prosperity. Peanuts symbolize long life Shrimp represents happiness and well-being. Noodles represent long life. Whole steamed fish to represent long life and good fortune Wontons symbolize good fortune Round, fresh fruits, particularly oranges and apples, symbolize the completeness of the year, as well as hope of no bumps or issues in the coming year. He watches the household and annually makes a report to the Jade Emperor, ruler of the world. Since his words determines a family's fate, they keep him happy with delicious offerings at his altar. And just before New Year, he is given sweets so that sweet words come out of his mouth. This very old holiday has been celebrated for over four thousand years in China.

Since the holiday is based on the lunar calendar, the holiday doesn't always come on the same date every year, but it's always in January or February.

Sometimes called the Spring Festival, because it's celebrated before the planting season and people hoped for a prosperous year with a bountiful harvest.

The fifteen day celebration culminates with the Lantern Festival on the day of first full moon.

This is also celebrated in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Various stories explain how certain animals came to be associated with and how their order in the zodiac was established.

People born in a particular animal's year will have the personality traits of that animal.

Each of the animals have unique strengths and flaws in their character. Sesame balls represent prosperity with their golden color and round shape reminding people of money. Families visit the cemetery where deceased relatives are buried to clean the stones on their graves.

Oranges and fresh flowers are place on the graves as offerings. Personal Appearance People get new clothes or a new pair of shoes to celebrate a fresh start.
People also cut their hair before the new year. Since the word for hair sounds like prosperity, no one wants to accidentally "cut their luck."

Your appearance and attitude during New Year's sets the tone for the rest of the year Lion Dance! Dancers often train in martial arts as well. Dragon Parade! The dragon brings good luck for the forthcoming year.
The dragon costume can reach 100 feet long and be carried by as many as 50 people!
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