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Greet the New Year ... with Chinese New Year Cards
WHEN IS IT?
Each year, the Chinese New Year celebration falls on the date of the first new moon on the Chinese
lunar calendar, which can be in late January or early to mid-February. On the Western calendar this is a late beginning, but
the festivities will be just as spectacular.
WHAT IS IT?
Arrival of the New Year is an important celebration on the Chinese calendar. It's a time for cleaning
house, repaying debts, enjoying feasts, distributing 'laisee' packets (red envelopes that hold gifts
of money), remembering ancestors, and renewing family ties. The festival lasts for at least 15 days,
until Yuen Sui, or Feast of the Lantern.
The 12-year cycle in the Chinese calendar recognizes each of a dozen
animals in the Chinese zodiacrat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake,
horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
The New Year also is considered 'everyone's birthday,' a day on which all become a year older and
gift giving is prevalent. 'Gong Xi Fa Cai' is a typical greeting and means 'Wishing you luck and prosperity!'
WHO CELEBRATES IT?
Chinese communities around the world celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.
In the U.S., there are approximately 2.5 million people of Chinese descent, and the celebration of
Chinese New Year is an important tie to their cultural heritage.
WHAT IS ITS HISTORY?
Legends surrounding the origins of the ancient holiday abound. One well-known story says the word
'nian' (or 'year') was the name of a man-eating dragon. Nian terrorized the country until a wise man
convinced the dragon to eat other beasts, then advised the people to put red decorations on windows
and doors to scare away Nian, in case the dragon changed his mind.
HOW DO PEOPLE CELEBRATE IT?
Today, families put up red paper decorations, set off firecrackers, and beat drums and gongs in parades
to scare away Nian. Houses may be decorated with symbolic flowers, fruits and colorful pictures to
welcome the New Year.
On the eve of the New Year, tradition calls for a feast of food items that signify good wishes. For
example, prawns represent liveliness and happiness, and raw fish salad brings good luck.
New Year's day is often spent quietly with family and friends. Married couples give children and unmarried
adults money in red envelopes, called 'laisee,' and go door-to-door greeting neighbors and relatives.
In modern day China, the celebration is less formal and time-consuming than it was in the past, but
it remains a festive occasion with ties to ancient rituals.
The color red symbolizes the celebration and gold appears as a tribute to the brilliance of Chinese
culture. Peach blossoms, narcissus and chrysanthemum all have symbolic value for a New Year of prosperity,
good health and happiness.
Wishing business associates wealth, prosperity, and good fortune is a common activity associated with
Chinese New Year.
Hallmark introduced Chinese New Year cards in 1999. Hallmark.com features
several free e-cards with animation and sound for Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year collection includes many culturally relevant
card designs featuring traditional Chinese symbols and bright, bold
The card sentiments are written in Chinese and include English translations.
More about Chinese New Year around the Web:
New Year e-Cards
New Year - Wikipedia
Find Your Fate - Chinese Astrology