Chinese New Year

Symbol of protection, good luck

On the second full moon after the winter solstice, the Chinese New Year festival takes place. Over 3,000 years ago, the first Chinese New Year celebration took place. On the first day of the new year, Nian, a legendary beast, would devour people and crops. A farmer discovered that leaving food outside the dwellings, hanging red lanterns, and lighting crackling bamboo would deter Nian. This is where the first Chinese New Year began. Sacrifices were done in the beginning to satisfy the gods and ask for a fruitful year. To commemorate the Chinese New Year, individuals began to stay up late, clean their homes, and eat dumplings.

People nowadays commemorate the holiday by presenting red gifts and hanging red lanterns. Fireworks are lit to ward off evil spirits, and family gather for the reunion feast, the most important meal of the year, where rice cakes, fish, and dumplings are eaten for good luck. To ward off evil spirits and provide good luck, lion dance troupes are called to perform. The Chinese New Year Festival lasts fifteen days, during which time various ceremonies and superstitions take place. Candles are burned on the last day to guide any leftover ghosts home.

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