Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first
day of the first lunar month and lasts for 15 days. The Chinese New Year is the
major Chinese holiday and is also celebrated throughout Asia, not only in China.
There are two cycles that coincide with the Chinese New Year the twelve-year
animal zodiac and the ten-year heavenly stems.
The tale behind the Chinese New year is that villagers tried to protect themselves from a mythical beast called Nian or "Year". Each year on the first day of the New Year the beast would come to eat crops, villagers, livestock and particularly children. Villagers would put out food from Nian and hang red colored lanterns, as Nian was afraid of the color red. Nian eventually was scared off. Now to celebrate the banishment of this creature the New Year is celebrated by hanging red lanterns and using firecrackers.
The period around the Chinese New Year is known as the largest migration time in China as the New Year is a time to visit friends and relatives and many individuals travel to return home and visit with family. The day before the Chinese New Year the home will be cleaned from top to bottom to sweep away the bad luck from the preceding year and welcome in good luck. Other traditions like wearing new clothes and getting a haircut are also included in having a new start.
The first day of the Chinese New Year welcome sin the deities of earth and the heavens. Most individuals do not eat meat during this time. Most food is cooked the day before as the use of knives and fires are thought to bring bad luck. The first day is also when the family will visit the oldest or most senior members of their family. During the second day of the New Year the married daughter will visit her birth parents. Individuals also pray to the god and ancestors and also celebrate dogs.
The third and fourth days of the New Year are not traveling says as it is thought that individuals will argue more easily as well as being respectful to the dead particularly or any family that may have died within the past three years. The fifth day dumplings are traditionally eaten, as this say is the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth.
The seventh day is the commons man birthday and it is on this day that everyone turns one year older. Traditionally a raw fish salad is consumes. On the ninth day individuals will pray to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, as this is his birthday. Offerings of sugarcane are made and tea is drunk to honor a particular chosen individual. On the fifteenth day or last day of the New Year. Is the lantern festival where candles are lit outside homes to guide spirits home.
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