2019 is the fourth year of not being able to celebrate Chinese New Year (CNY) with my family so this sparked the idea of introducing it to those who don’t celebrate it. I had a great hotpot dinner with my friends this year. And thanks to them, homesickness was a bit more bearable.
So, what is CNY?
It is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. There is no set date for CNY as it is according to the Lunar Calendar. The first day of this year CNY falls on 5th of February and ends on 19th of February (15 days). There are 12 Chinese zodiacs (similar to the Western horoscope), but an animal represents the entire year. And 2019 is the year of pig. So if you have been seeing pig pictures on social media, this is the reason why!
What do people do during CNY?
On CNY’s eve, everyone will head home and have a reunion dinner with their family (it is a bit like Christmas Eve). The reunion dinner is one of the main activities everyone will be looking forward to. That’s because this is probably the only time of the year when everyone gathers around the same table to have a meal together. After dinner, most people will stay up late until the clock strikes 12. Fireworks will be set off and laughter can be heard from one house to the next one and this will then mark the beginning of CNY. It is a tradition to set off firecrackers on CNY because of the myth about a monster called Nian. It was known to come out on CNY’s eve and everyone had to hide at home until a young brave boy fought it with firecrackers.
On the first and second days of CNY, every family will visit their relatives and have meals together. Most families will make traditional dishes and there are usually special meanings behind them. This is also the time of the year to indulge in all the CNY cookies and traditional snacks. The elders will give red envelopes (which have cash in them) to the young ones as symbols of good luck and prosperity. It is also a must to wear new and red clothes during CNY as red symbolises fortune and luck to the new year.
There will be many events and activities going on throughout the whole period of CNY; for example, the lion dance, dragon dance, lantern riddles and many more. The very last day of CNY is known as Chinese Valentine’s Day. This is because in ancient China women were not usually allowed to leave the house but on this night, they could join the celebration with lightning up the lanterns and interacting with men.
That was a very brief snapshot of how CNY celebration is for most people. I wish a very happy and prosperous CNY to everyone who is celebrating it! Hope you guys enjoyed reading about it.