Monday, January 26, 2009

A Few Words About Our Chinese New Year Celebration...

The following post contains pictures of us celebrating Chinese New Year this past Saturday. We went to a wonderful party that was hosted by our local Chinese Cultural Center. Emma had a lot of fun and loved the Dragon Dance, she repeatedly asked if she could go on stage...I have no doubt that she would have joined in if we let her! :) Below is an over view of Chinese New Year that I found online. If you are interested it explains the holiday in simple terms. Or, if you choose you may go to the next post to see pictures of Emma! :)


Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is a very important time of the year in most of Asia. It is a time of renewal, and the traditions and festivities associated with the New Year are a way to celebrate a fresh, new beginning.The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. In 2009, the New Year falls on January 26.

Preparations & Celebrations

The traditional Chinese New Year's greeting is "Gung ho fat choy!" which means, "may prosperity be with you!" Each day of the 15-day celebration has a significant meaning, and there are specific foods to be eaten and prayers to be said on each day. Many of the preparations Chinese families make for the New Year are done to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. Thoroughly cleaning the house before the New Year Getting a haircut and new clothes to begin the year fresh and clean Decorating house doors with red scrolls and banners for good luck Placing live, blooming plants around the house to symbolize renewal Handing out small red envelopes filled with money, called lai see hong bao, for good luck.

Traditional FoodsThis is a time of family reunions and gatherings and most Chinese families spend New Year's Eve together enjoying huge feasts where many traditional foods are prepared and eaten. Typical foods include: Oranges & tangerines (for good luck) Red dates (for prosperity) Melon seeds (for many babies) Nian gao (a special dish baked for the New Year--the higher it is, the better year it will be) The Tray of Togetherness (a candy tray filled with lichee nut, kumquat, and lotus seed candies, which symbolize good fortune)

The Signs of the Chinese ZodiacThe Chinese observe a 12-year cycle in which each year is named after a particular animal. According to legend, before his death the Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on the New Year. Twelve animals showed up, and as a reward, he named a year after each of them. It is said that people born in a specific animal's year will have characteristics similar to that animal. Find out more about signs of the Chinese Zodiac.

The Lantern Festival. The arrival of the full moon signals the end of the celebrations, which means it's time for the Lantern Festival. Elaborate lanterns are decorated and hung in temples and homes. On the full moon, the lanterns are carried to a moonlit parade where the dragon dance is performed and fireworks are lit to chase away evil spirits and bad luck. Make paper lanterns for your own festival.

1 comment:

The Shifflett Family said...

Thanks for the education on Chinese New Year Megan! Great pictures! Doris

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