Enjoying Chinese New Year

January 27, 2017

One of the most significant economic holidays in China is considered to be Chinese New Year. The Spring Festival (as it used to be called in the 20th century) commemorates the honor of Chinese gods and ancestors. Originally, Chinese New Year was connected with lunar calendar and was closely related to the phases of the moon. However, in 1912 China adopted usual Western Calendar and began to celebrate New Year on January 1. Despite that, Spring Festival is still being celebrated in China as an ever-lasted tradition. However, the real meaning of the holiday is nearly forgotten by the younger generation and is now treated as an additional day off from work.

Evolution of Chinese New Year

Lunar Calendar

Chinese New Year is originally based on the ancient Chinese calendar, which was used as a dynastic and religious guide. Founded during the ruling of the Shang Dynasty, the calendar was not static – it was renewed every time a new emperor was coming to power and also had different variations according to the location. The lunar calendar was strictly dependent on moon phases and sun solstices. According to this calendar, Chinese composed their zodiac – the system of twelve years, each marked with one of the animal symbol: pig, rooster, sheep, snake, rabbit, ox, dog, monkey, horse, rabbit, tiger, and rat.

Chinese New Year

Original Chinese New Year

Formerly, Chinese people considered New Year holiday the most significant one in their entire calendar. During the time of the fest, all the life in the cities except the family one stops. Home and relatives became a focus those days. The house must have been fully cleaned to get rid of evil spirits that might have collected through the year. Food sacrifices, lucky messages, firecrackers were special rituals to appease the gods for the coming year. All those rites were intended to bring prosperity and happiness for the entire next year to the house. Feasting was also a vital tradition. The New Year’s Eve gathered all the members of the family around the table for a dinner with the last meal of a fish that was not eaten and represented the symbol of prosperity. During the 15 days, people ate long noodles which symbolized long life and round dumplings to symbolize the family perfection.

Nowadays Spring Festival

In 1912, Chinese started to celebrate New Year together with the entire world – on the January 1. Later, in 1949, when a communist leader Mao Zedong came to the ruling, he completely forbade celebrating the traditional New Year and ordered to switch to the Georgian calendar. Luckily, in 1996, the Chinese government decided to restore the original traditions and reestablished the Spring Festival, letting people enjoy their time together with a family. Nowadays, the majority of Chinese people are likely to celebrate New Year according to the traditions, together with their family. Among the new traditions, a new TV show, called Spring Festival Gala can be mentioned. Contemporary singers together with traditional ones performing on the stage are now a beloved event by the whole China.

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