Yeah!!! Chinese New Year is just around the corner! Over the years, things have changed a lot! You can actually find a lot of different Chinese New Year celebrations around town. Here are what Chicago has to offer offers Chinese New Year from the City of Chicago’s page. I will post more when I find them! I hope you will attend some (or all) events this year and have fun.
I also would like to share some Chinese New Year story and traditions!
This year is ….the year of Monkey!!!
恭禧發財 Gōng xǐ fā cái (Congratulations and be prosperous, common greeting for Chinese new year)!
新年快樂 Xīn nián kuài lè (Happy new year) ! These are two most common greetings for Chinese New Year! You will see signs says “Gong Hei fat chat” that means the same as “Gōng xǐ fā cái” but in Cantonese.
These are two most common greetings for Chinese New Year! You might have seen signs says “Gong Hei fat chat”. That actually means the same as “Gōng xǐ fā cái”, but in Cantonese.
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, goes by lunar calendar, starts on the first day of the new moon (New Year’s Eve) and ends on 元宵节（Yuan Xiao Jie) fourteen days later. It occurs somewhere between January 30 and February 20.
Each Chinese New Year is represented by a repeated cycle of 12 animals, the rat, ox, tiger, hare or rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This year is the year of Monkey!!! Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in Chinese cultural.
The Legend of Nian According to legend, in ancient China, the Nian (年) was a man-eating beast from the mountains, which came out every 12 months somewhere close to winter to prey on humans. The people later believed that the Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, so they scared it away with explosions, fire works and the color red. These customs became the traditions for New Year.
Traditions As part of the Chinese New Year celebration, people buy presents, decorations, special foods and new clothing. Days before the New Year celebration, Chinese families are busy giving their home a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away bad luck and makes the house ready for good luck to enter. All brooms and dust pans are put away on New Year’s Eve so good luck cannot be swept away.
In many homes, doors and windowpanes get a new coat of red paint. The home is decorated with paper-cuts and poems called couplets of “happiness”, “wealth”, “longevity” and “satisfactory marriage with children”.
The New Year’s Eve supper is a feast with all the members of the family getting together. It is kind of like Thanksgiving in US. One popular food is餃子（jiaozi ）which are dumplings because It resembled an old currency –元寶（yuan bao). After dinner, the whole family stays up all night playing cards, board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the New Year’s celebration. Lights in the house are kept on during the whole night. At midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks which symbolize the sending out of the old year and the welcoming in of the new year. People open all the windows and doors in the house in order to let the old year go out.
Very early the next morning, children greet their parents and receive their New Year present. They get lucky red envelopes, called “hóng bao” with money inside. The rest of the first day of the New Year is Year is spent visiting relatives, friends and neighbors.
One of the most spectacular sights during the Lunar New Year Festival is the dragon and lion dance. The heads of these fearsome beasts are supposed to ward off evil, and the nimble movements of the dancers provide a grand spectacle enjoyable to everyone.
If you want a one-page handout for these traditions, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send you a PDF file!