History of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is the most important traditional holiday in China. It marks the beginning of a new lunar year and is celebrated by people of Chinese descent all over the world. The history of Chinese New Year can be traced back thousands of years, and it is steeped in customs, traditions, and legends that have been passed down through generations.
Origins of Chinese New Year
The origins of Chinese New Year can be traced back to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE), when the Chinese people celebrated the New Year to honor the gods and ancestors. The festival was originally held at the end of the agricultural season, when the last harvest was brought in, and it was a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and to pray for a good harvest in the coming year.
During the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), Chinese New Year became a more important festival, and it was celebrated over a period of 15 days. The emperor would host grand banquets, and the people would give gifts to their families and friends.
The Chinese calendar and the Lunar New Year
The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar, which means that its months are based on the cycles of the moon. The Chinese New Year always falls between January 21st and February 20th, depending on the lunar calendar. This date is determined by the new moon that occurs closest to the start of the solar year, which is the winter solstice.
The Chinese zodiac and the Lunar New Year
The Chinese zodiac is a 12-year cycle, with each year being represented by a different animal. The animal associated with a person’s birth year is said to have a significant influence on their personality and fate. The animals of the Chinese zodiac are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
Customs and traditions of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a time for families to come together and celebrate, and there are many customs and traditions that are associated with the festival. One of the most important customs is the reunion dinner, which is held on New Year’s Eve. It is a time for families to gather together and enjoy a special meal, usually featuring traditional foods such as dumplings, fish, and glutinous rice cakes.
Another important custom is the giving of red envelopes filled with money, which is usually given by older family members to children and unmarried adults. The money is said to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.
Decorations and symbols associated with Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a time when many homes and streets are decorated with red lanterns, banners, and symbols of good luck, such as the character for “fortune” or the Chinese knot. The color red is considered to be lucky, and it is believed to ward off evil spirits. Additionally, firecrackers are set off during Chinese New Year to scare away evil spirits and to welcome in the new year. Flowers are commonly being used as decoration during Chinese New Year as well. Refer our another post to learn more! History of Flower During Chinese New Year.
All About History of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a time for families to come together and celebrate, and it is steeped in customs, traditions, and legends that have been passed down through generations. From its origins as an agricultural festival to its current status as the most important traditional holiday in China, Chinese New Year has evolved to become a celebration of good luck, prosperity, and family. It is a time when people all over the world come together to honor their heritage and to welcome in the new year.
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