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Embracing tradition of Lunar New Year

By Tammy Lo

Published 11:03 PST, Fri February 2, 2024

Last Updated: 11:27 PST, Fri February 2, 2024

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is a time of vibrant celebrations, deep-rooted traditions, and the spirit of renewal for millions around the world.

This auspicious occasion marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and is a time for families to come together, reflect on the past, and welcome the promises of the future. Rooted in ancient customs, Chinese New Year is a spectacle of colours, festivities, and symbolic rituals that bring people closer and foster a sense of unity and hope. 

Chinese New Year has a rich history that spans over 4,000 years, with its origins traced back to the Shang Dynasty.

The festival traditionally honors deities and ancestors and is believed to ward off evil spirits.

Legend has it, that the mythical monster Nian would terrorize villages until the people discovered that loud noises and the color red frightened it away. Hence, the tradition of setting off fireworks and firecrackers, and decorating homes in red during the New Year celebrations.

Additionally, The Chinese zodiac, with its 12 animal signs, is another integral part of the New Year celebrations. Each year is associated with a specific animal, and people believe that the traits of that animal influence the personalities and destinies of individuals born in that year.

Overall, Chinese New Year is a time for reflection, renewal, and the strengthening of family bonds, deeply embedded in China's rich cultural and historical tapestry.

The weeks leading up to Chinese New Year are bustling with preparations. Families meticulously clean their homes to sweep away bad luck and make way for good fortune. It is customary to decorate with red lanterns, banners, and traditional Chinese paper-cuttings, symbolizing prosperity and happiness. Shopping for new clothes, traditional foods, and gifts is also a common practice. 

The pinnacle of Chinese New Year celebrations is the reunion dinner on the eve of the festival. Families gather from near and far to share a sumptuous feast featuring dishes with symbolic meanings, such as fish for abundance, dumplings for wealth, and longevity noodles for a long and prosperous life. The act of sharing this meal is a representation of unity and the importance of familial bonds.

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, cities across China and Chinese communities worldwide light up the sky with spectacular fireworks displays.

The Lantern Festival, which officially concludes the celebration on the 15th day of the lunar new year, sees streets adorned with beautiful lanterns of various shapes and sizes. Lantern riddles, parades, and dragon and lion dances further add to the festive atmosphere.

In contemporary times, Chinese New Year has since transcended cultural boundaries, becoming a global celebration embraced by people from diverse backgrounds.

Major cities worldwide host parades, cultural performances, and other events to join in the festivities. The Chinese diaspora actively participates in passing down traditions and ensuring the continuity of cultural heritage.

Chinese New Year is more than a festival; it is a testament to the resilience of cultural traditions and the enduring importance of family and community.

As the world ushers in each lunar new year, it not only celebrates the rich tapestry of Chinese culture but also welcomes the hope and promise of a brighter future. In the spirit of renewal, Chinese New Year stands as a universal symbol of joy, togetherness, and the perpetual cycle of life.

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