I love a good celebration! One that’s about fresh starts and good luck, plus the added bonus of the big bang of fireworks and delicious food, is a winner! It’s Chinese New Year, or better known as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This festival is celebrated in China, and in other Asian countries, such as Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Therefore, it is most often referred to as Spring Festival.
Spring Festival is celebrated with fireworks, new clothes (usually red), and lots of delicious food for good luck. Hundreds of red paper lanterns are hung in public areas, bringing good luck to the New Year. Children receive “lucky money” in red envelopes.
The Spring Festival is a time for families, from near and far, to come together. Historically, prayers would be said to the gods for a good planting and harvest season. Throughout the celebration there are many foods served that symbolize good luck and prosperity. There are 7 foods that are considered particularly lucky, each with a lucky saying.
This year, the lunar New Year commences on January 25th. Prior to that day, people clean their homes and so, on the New Year, they can open their doors to let luck enter. You don’t want to pick up a broom on New Year’s Day in case you sweep your luck out! Dragon dances, performances, and parades with music and acrobatics continue for 15 days, finishing with a special lantern festival signaling the end of the New Year celebration period.
Each new year has a lunar zodiac sign attributed to it. 2020 is the Year of the Rat. In Chinese culture, rats were viewed as a symbol of wealth and surplus. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac and so each sign is rotated every 12 years. I was born in the year of the Rat many moons ago. I’m not going to tell you which year!! Apparently, those of us born in the Year of the Rat are said to be ambitious and sincere, and to be generous with money.