Celebrating Chinese New Year - it's a family affair
In Chinese culture, the new year is a time to begin again. Chinese New Year is more commonly known in China as the Spring Festival with hope for better times ahead.
Families are outfitted in new clothes, front doors are freshly painted, homes are scrubbed sparkling clean, and banners are hung to declare a very Happy New Year to all!
Of course, food -- and lots of it -- is the centerpiece of any Chinese New Year celebration, and entire books could be written on various Chinese New Year food traditions believed to bring good luck and prosperity.
As an example, carp is a main dish because the fish represents strength and endurance. For desert, oranges and tangerines are often featured since their Chinese names sound like "gold" and "wealth".
"Blessing You" by Chinese pop artist Sally Yeh
To get everyone in the holiday spirit, traditional songs for Chinese New Year can be heard
on the radio, streaming on the Internet, or broadcast over sound systems in shops and department stores.
The colors of the new year are red and gold -- more good omens for luck and prosperity. During family get-togethers, gifts are exchanged and red envelopes are filled with "lucky" money for children.
Like Christmas lights that help dispel the dark days of December, the traditional 2023 Chinese lantern festival also plays a prominent part within the new year tradition. Strewn through neighborhood streets and marketplaces. these bright symbols of hope mark the return of better days as winter finally retreats -- and spring moves forward!
Chinese New Year spectacular
And what would the celebration be without dancing dragons and fireworks to bring luck throughout the year?
A dragon weaves through the streets during
a Chinese New Year
The longer the dragon, the better chance for good luck throughout the year.
One of the most auspicious signs in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is a traditional symbol of good luck and prosperity among the Chinese. During the New Year, the beast is sure to make an appearance doing its snake-like dance via a team of street dancers -- who manipulate a long flexible dragon figure using poles positioned along its length.
The longer the dragon, the more luck it will bring! Some dragons may stretch a 100 feet or more in length.
During the grand spectacle, firecrackers usually go off with a loud bang in order to ward off any chance of evil spirits getting in the way of all the fun!
Happy New Year!
Chinese New Year fun facts
Traditional dumplings for the New Year.
• While days leading up to the holiday are spent in a mad dash to clean every part of the house, once the New Year arrives it's considered bad luck to touch a broom, take out the garbage, or take a shower for fear of washing away good fortune in the New Year.
• Dumplings were once considered a mainstay of every meal during the New Year celebration. Today, most Chinese households uphold the old tradition by making sure that dumplings are always served on New Year's Day.
• Chinese New Year is by far the busiest season of the entire year for public transport, That's when family members travel long distances to be together for their most important holiday. Travelers must book airline and train tickets months in advance to ensure a seat. And, while everyone is welcome to join in, it is the very intrepid traveler who will visit China during the New Year!
• As luck would have it, you don't actually have to be in China to participate in a Chinese New Year celebration. The holiday is colorfully observed in cities with large Chinatown communities around the world each year -- including San Francisco, New York, London and Sydney -- each of them boasting the biggest and best!
Chinese New Year Recipes
traditional New Year dinner for the imperial house was composed of 99 dishes since the number 9 is an auspicious number! Fish are a good luck food, but take care to serve the fish whole to preserve the good fortune.
Around the Web, learn more about Chinese New Year celebrations in the U.S. and worldwide, browse festive clip art and e-mail greetings, or read up on holiday customs and folklore.
Chinese New Year - Wikipedia - Check out a wonderful overview of the history, symbols, customs & foods surrounding the 15-day festivities including information on traditional gifts, flowers, fireworks, good luck / bad luck superstitions, how Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world, plus lots of related links and resources.
Teacher Planet - Chinese New Year - This is a great collection of fun activities and instructional how to's including dragon crafts, paper lanterns & garlands, scavenger hunt
sheets, related lesson plans, plus links to clip art & history resources.