All you need to know about Chinese new year!
The Chinese New Year is one of the biggest occasions in modern history. It affects more than 1/6th of the population of the world and sees a mass movement of people like no other. Hundreds of Millions of people travel the length and breadth of China to go back to their homes causing a major human migration – definitely the largest human migration of our times. For a few days and weeks, there is nothing but celebration in China as the new year festivities take control of an entire nation.
The new year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year. Every year it moves slightly owing to different lunar patterns. The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year. Each Chinese New Year is characterized by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.
This year its the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028. This periodic shift ensures that people try to plan their lives according to the zodiac sign that they are born under.
The effect of being born under the sign of the Monkey:
Chinese people believe that being born under different zodiac signs has massive effect on ones personality. The popular zodiac remains the year of the dragon however each symbol has its own distinct personality.
The year of the monkey which is now is considered as a month that brings people who are lively, quick witted, curious, inventive and mischievous. On the flip side of the current month, people born in the year of the monkey are also considered as people who are unlucky.
The strengths of people who are born under the zodiac sign of Monkey
Strengths: Confident, bubbly, positive thinkers, ability to think through problems and difficult situations, very enthusiastic and looking towards different challenges
Weaknesses: There are however certain negative aspects that are also associated with the year of Monkey and they include being cunning and extremely selfish above all. The people also have the negative trait of jealousy as their major weakness along with having an arrogant attitude towards others making them less sociable and pleasant to talk to.
The 12 Chinese Zodia Signs
· Rat: Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic, sociable.
· Ox: Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined.
· Tiger: Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic.
· Rabbit: Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers.
· Dragon: Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic.
· Snake: Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive.
· Horse: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong.
· Sheep: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm.
· Monkey: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart.
· Rooster: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident.
· Dog: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart.
· Pig: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable.
Why do people travel to their homes over the Chinese festive season?
The Chinese year revolves around the festivities that are around the new year time. There is a complete shut down in the country as most of the universities, schools and offices remain closed. All the effort is done to ensure that people have time to spend this special occasion with their loved ones. In a country like China where people have traveled thousands of miles to start their new lives, going back is never easy. There is a case of millions of people traveling from Beijing alone to reach back to their original home towns. This can often lead to traffic jams and unavailability of local transport. Every year news filters of a traffic jam that lasts days and not just few hours.
Chinese New Year traditions:
1. Medicine: Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year.
2. New Years breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten as it brings bad omens.
3. Laundry: People do not wash clothes.
4. Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year.
5. Sharp objects: Sharp objects aren’t used.
6. Going out: A woman may not leave her house on the first day.
7. The broom: If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.
8. Crying children: It is considered that if children cry on the new year, bad luck will follow all year.
Parents try very hard that their children don’t cry.
9. Theft: Having your pocket picked is believed to portend your whole wealth in the coming year being stolen.
10. Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day, and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve
11. An empty rice jar: n depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety so rice jars should be kept full.
12. Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.
13. Killing things: Blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or a bloody disaster.
14. Monochrome fashion: White or black clothes are barred as these two colors are traditionally associated with mourning.
15. Welcoming the New Year: According to tradition, people must stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year, and then to let off firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster. Some people burn paper containing images of worldly items as gift for the deceased.
16. Giving of certain gifts: Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture
Author: Zak Hades – Serbia
source photo: pinterest