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Chinese Culture >> Chinese New Year

2009 Chinese New Year

In China and other Asian countries, Chinese New Year is for kids of all ages, the most dear and loved of all the Chinese Festivals. As the big date approaches, children start preparing in anticipation of the colorful festivities.

The Chinese New Year celebrations last for fifteen days. They start on the first day of the Lunar Year, normally around the end of January or in February, and culminate on the 15th day of the year with the Lantern Festival.

These fifteen days are spent visiting friends and relatives, enjoying the many parades and activities such as the dragon and lion dances, and of course plenty of firecrackers are lit.

But before all this begins, a lot of preparation has to take place, and children are also encouraged to participate in these traditions:

*The house must be swept clean so all the accumulated bad luck from the previous year goes away. For kids, it means cleaning up their rooms and taking care of unfinished business, that is, it's time to catch up with homework.

*The decorations must be made. Children can write their own banners of good luck that hang in the main entrance of the house and their own bedrooms as well. The banners are made in red paper, red is the color of happiness and life. The messages contain typical lucky characters, such as "prosperity" and "good fortune."

*Another tradition is that of paying respect to the ancestors before the start of the new year. Kids will visit the temples, bring offerings in the form of fruits and incense to please the spirits and gain their favor for the upcoming year.

With the preparations out of the way, Chinese New Year arrives, and the festivities begin. In China, trains, ships, airplanes, horses, and any conceivable means of transportation will be crammed as people hurry home to spend the celebrations with their family and friends.

The non-stop string of banquets and feasts begins and children receive their lucky "red envelopes" which are filled with money.

The streets are jam-packed with dragon and lion dancers among all the well-wishers who come out to celebrate a new beginning, and it all ends in a burst of firecrackers to scare away the evil spirits. The New Year has begun. .

About the Author

Miriam Hoffmann is the founder and editor of . She is an overseas Chinese living currently in Germany and a frequent China traveler. Get ready for Chinese New Year and start making your own Good Luck Banners, learn how to write the lucky symbols, stroke by stroke.