Today we celebrate Chinese New Year, the most important holiday celebrated in China, where people that live far away from home, have a break and visit loved ones to celebrate.
Every year the date of the Chinese New Year changes because it is based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar and it falls on the second new moon after winter solstice.
2015 is the year of the goat or sheep (you might see one or the other) in the Chinese Calendar. If you were born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1967, 1979, 1991 or 2003 you are a goat and your lucky colors can be brown, red or purple.
This holiday is meant to be spent surrounded with your loved ones and here are a few traditions or ways on how it’s celebrated.
1. Clean the house
Cleaning is a very important step in order to receive the New Year,
whether you like it or not. The purpose is to get rid of any bad luck that might be roaming around your house and make room for good luck to enter your house.
Decorations should be everywhere and most of them will be color red, since is considered to be a lucky color in the Chinese culture. Lanterns, banners and garlands are the most common decoration as well paper dragons.
Adults also hand out red envelopes filled with cash to younger relatives and/or unmarried members of the family, symbolizing good luck.
3. Family dinner
Families usually gather around to have dinner the night before the New Year; the location tends to be at the home of the eldest member of the family out of respect.
The dishes served may vary depending on the region and family but usually we can find Buddha’s Delight (a vegetable dish), mandarin oranges, dumplings, long noodles, leeks, chicken, and fish.
At this dinner is when the red envelopes with money are handed between family members.
Fireworks are a key aspect of the tradition and history of the Chinese New Year. The mythical monster at the center of the New Year, Nian, was afraid of the color red and fireworks.
Now this might be a little tricky. Firecrackers are banned in several cities; also in China, the government is asking for caution when handling the firecrackers, citing concerns about the air quality.