The Chinese New Year is a holiday whose roots go back to agricultural traditions that celebrate the end of the long winter months. The lunar New Year 2020 began midnight on January 24 and for several days people from all over the world will celebrate the passage of the Year of the Pig to the Year of the Rat.
The date of the celebration changes every year because it is based on the lunisolar calendar and coincides with the new moon of the period from the end of January to mid-February. This is also why it receives different names and is also celebrated in many Eastern cultures. There is a common term, the Spring Festival (春节), which is mostly used in China. The Vietnamese use the term Tết, which means feast and whose full name is Tết Nguyên Đán or “Feast of the first morning of the first day”. Tibetan culture calls this celebration Losar (ལོ་ གསར་, which means “New Year”). The Lunar New Year is an official celebration in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and is celebrated by Chinese citizens throughout the world.
The power of red: effective monster repellent
Both before or after the Chinese New Year period, the color red predominates in the decorations of the doors, the houses, the temples and the businesses, in the cards and in the clothes that people use in these dates.
The celebration originates from a legend in which a mythical beast named Nian attacked the locals and ate them, until an old man, who casually dressed in red, announced that he would be in charge of monitoring the town during the night with firecrackers to get rid of of all the “negative forces” of the previous year and thus receive the new one with more favorable energies.
In Chinese tradition, each year is represented by one of the twelve totem animals. The New Year of 2020 marks the passage from the Year of the Pig to the Year of the Rat, which is also the first animal of the cycle.
The character used in Chinese is shu or 鼠. Since this character does not distinguish between mouse or rat, in many designs this year you can see tender mice, which are often painted red.
This zodiac and its symbols are used in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Family dinners and temple visits
The most important moment of the eve of the celebration of the New Year is the family dinner in which family members, of all generations, meet in a home to eat together. The food served changes according to the place and its local cuisine. In northern China, dumplings that are called jiaozi are usually eaten, while in the southern culture a sticky New Year's cake called niangao is prepared. Next, other popular traditional dishes of northern Chinese cuisine:
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Families also visit local temples in the hours before the start of the New Year to ask for prosperity, health and success in projects or exams. The next two weeks also feature special days that are marked by specific rituals that also include family visits.
According to the Chinese zodiac, each animal symbolizes and describes what is expected for the next year, and if we decide to believe in the Chinese horoscope, 2020 promises to be interesting: “The rat is a very perceptive animal that can perceive its intonation and know when is a good time to act, so it is one of the most favorable signs of the Chinese zodiac. ”
A geomancy teacher who speaks from Hong Kong offers detailed predictions for each sign of the zodiac: “It's about looking for those laws and the flow of the universe. When you know how to calculate it, you can predict trends for everything. ”
Anyway, 新年 快樂! Happy New Year!