Saturday, February 24, 2024

Year of the Dragon: Everything you need to know about Lunar New Year 2024

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From parades in town centers to handing over red packets, here’s how the world celebrates Chinese New Year.

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Happy spring! (Chunjié Kuài Lè!) Happy New Year!

Celebrated all over the world, this festival commemorates the second new moon after the winter solstice and the beginning of spring, hence its literal name “Spring Festival” or “Chinese New Year.”

Spring Festival, a cornerstone of Chinese culture, is celebrated by approximately 2 billion people. Although the day is primarily associated with China’s Han majority, it is also celebrated by 29 of China’s 55 ethnic minority groups and many other East Asian countries, including China, Hong Kong, and Macau. , Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia celebrate the holiday. , North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Brunei.

Celebrated the day after the second full moon, this year’s Chinese New Year begins on February 10th, and the festivities continue until Lantern Festival on February 24th (more details below).

There are currently approximately 2.23 million Chinese immigrants or people of Chinese descent living in Europe. This number does not take into account the many other Asian demographics in Europe that celebrate this holiday.

What is Chinese New Year?

Many of the traditional festivals in the Chinese calendar originate from the celebration of important agricultural days. The Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, he celebrated the end of the harvest season on September 29, 2023, while the Spring Festival marks the beginning of the agricultural season.

There is a deep historical connection between ritual and agriculture in Chinese culture, which may be linked to a naturalistic approach to spirituality. The term “heaven” is a case in point, with definitions ranging from “day” to “season” to “god” and “heaven.” Although it may seem rather broad to Westerners, it is consistent with a philosophy that connects the supernatural to the natural world.

Records of Spring Festival celebrations date back to the Warring States period, from 475 BC to the unification of China by Qin Shihuang in 221 BC.

The Spring Festival is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, so the date it is celebrated changes every year according to the Western Gregorian calendar. Usually held between January 21st and February 20th, this year it will be held on February 10th.

This festival lasts from the 1st to the 15th day of the lunar calendar and is also known as Lantern Festival.

Year of the Dragon?

You may have already heard that according to the Chinese zodiac calendar, his year will be the year of the Dragon. Each year in China is represented by one of 12 animals, which rotate based on the Earth’s orbital position around the sun, unlike the Western Zodiac, which is based on constellations.

Chinese culture determines people’s personality types based on their zodiac animals. According to the University of Washington, baby dragons are considered “charismatic, intelligent, confident, powerful, and naturally lucky and talented.” This idea is so pervasive that problems with under-capacity hospitals have been recorded in the Year of the Dragon as Chinese parents try to have children within the first 12 months of life.

However, you may also want to know that people born in the Year of the Dragon are not compatible with those born in the Year of the Dog. This also means that getting a new puppy this year is not recommended.

Elemental cycles are also involved. According to the Chinese calendar, a year can also be defined as Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, or Saturday. To the 12 animals he added 5 elements, each specific combination occurring only about every 60 years.

Since this year is the year of the tree, it is officially the year of the tree dragon. The Year of the Tree is associated with strength and flexibility, with personal qualities such as warmth, cooperation, generosity, and idealism.

How is Chinese New Year celebrated?

There are many traditions associated with Chinese New Year. For many Europeans, the first thing that comes to mind (pardon the pun) is the parades held in Chinatowns in cities around the world.

Similar to the parades in London and Paris, the parade features many symbols of good fortune for the New Year, including fireworks, firecrackers and a lion dance troupe. Although these are a lot of fun, not many Chinese people actually celebrate Chinese New Year. Instead, the festival is usually considered a family affair, with large groups of people traveling around the world with their loved ones.

Perhaps the most important traditions associated with Chinese New Year are those based on food. A big family feast is a major part of Chinese New Year celebrations. Important foods on this day include oranges and fish. These are synonyms for prosperity in Cantonese and Mandarin, respectively.

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Another important tradition is the exchange of hongbao (red envelopes). Older married families hand out red envelopes filled with cash, while employees often use the festival as an opportunity to hand out bonuses. However, a word to the wise: avoid specifying amounts that include the number 4, as the number 4 has a surprisingly sinister association with the letter representing death.

Finally, if you want to wish someone a Happy New Year in Chinese, it’s easy. In Chinese, there is a phrase “Chun Jié Kuài Lè”, which means “Happy Spring Festival”, and in Cantonese, “Gong hei fat choi”, which means “Congratulations! It means “May you prosper.” ”.



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