On February 10, China celebrates the New Year. According to the lunar calendar, the Year of the Dragon is coming. During the 15 days leading up to the Lantern Festival, people in the Middle Kingdom celebrate the changes with family dinners and gatherings with their loved ones.
According to ancient lore, the Lunar Year, or Spring Festival as it is called in China, dates back to the 14th century BC. It is believed that the holiday was born in response to the fear caused by a creature from Asian mythology called Nian (a wild, scary horned monster with the head of a lion, the belly of a goat and a snake tail), which attacked the inhabitants of the country at the beginning of the year. Legend has it that people were forced to fence it off with lights and loud noise to protect their families, but over time this custom became established as a celebration of the New Year.
Which animal and element will rule 2024?
One of the most important beliefs surrounding the holiday is its animal symbolism. 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon, a mythological creature that represents the highest spiritual power and at the same time every person whose strength is his greatest virtue. The Year of the Dragon is in fifth place in the zodiac and coincides with the element of wood.
This creature and its accompanying element have connotations represented by luck, wisdom and strength, which, when combined with the warmth of the firewood, promise new opportunities to take unknown paths that expand horizons.
Traditions of celebrating Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a three-day holiday, but most shops and restaurants are closed for seven days. The celebration lasts two weeks and ends with the Lantern Festival. On the first day of the holiday, people go to temples to ask for prosperity.
Chinese New Year is one of the most important and large-scale holidays in the country. A few days before the start of the celebration, the Chinese begin to decorate streets, buildings, shops and houses with red lights. You can also often find red stripes on the front doors, on which wishes for the coming year are written in black ink.
In China, this date is marked by many traditions and superstitions.
How is this holiday celebrated in China?
New Year's Eve dinner is generally considered the most important dinner of the year. Thus, families gather at the home of the eldest member of the family to enjoy food and celebrate the Spring Festival, one of the most popular in the country.
A special tradition at this time of year is the exchange of gifts between family members, especially children, who receive money in bright red envelopes that bring good luck. Candy, baskets and souvenirs are other gift options.
There are also open-air performances, parades, fireworks, etc. The main celebrations take place on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. The Chinese believe that what is done early on New Year's Eve will affect the rest of the year. That is why the country values this holiday very much.