Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Amanda Alibangbang

“HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!” They said to each other as the streets were fluttering with many people, lanterns hanging from store to store, and the places they went to were filled with decoration. There are several types of traditions in everyone’s lives and to the Chinese it is about celebrating the new year. From World Holidays: A Rosen Guide for Children, the new year starts on the first day of the lunar cycle and continues for fifteen days, January 20th to February 20th. The Chinese New Year is the most important celebration for their festivals. Legends say that the holiday began when a wild beast, nian appeared at the end of winter to attack villagers. In the Chinese language, nian means year.  In the beginning, the people were afraid but they analyzed that the wild creature feared three things: bright lights, the color red, and noise. They built huge bonfires, set off firecrackers, and painted their doors red. The nian covered its head and fled. The 3 elements set an important role in the celebration. The festivities begin on the last day of the old year.

For 2015, it is the year of the goat/sheep. The goat represents being calm and gentle. It goes along with the people who are also born in the year of the goat. Their personalities include having delicate thoughts, strong creativity, perseverance, and acquire professional skills well. They have a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.

On New Year’s Eve, Chinese people seal the doors of their homes with strips of red paper to keep out bad spirits. They decorate the doors with “lucky phrases” written in gold ink, meant to bring good fortune and prosperity. This popular tradition is more than a thousand years old. When New Year’s Day comes the seals and doors are open to bring good luck. All debts have to be paid and all quarrels must be settled for a clean slate.

During the two week celebration there are many flowers. The blossoms on peach and plum trees mean long life, the white narcissus brings good fortune, and the camellia represents springtime. Many acrobats, jugglers, clowns, and musicians perform in the streets. Everyone knows the popular Dragon Dance. The dragon is made out of paper or silk scattered over bamboo poles. The maximum length of it can be 50 feet. A dozen people carry it. The people make the dragon bend and dance through the streets, chasing a yellow globe that symbolizes the sun. Legend says that if the dragon catches the globe, the sun will go out. The dragon never catches it, and the performance ends with a burst of fireworks