Gong Xi Fa Ca!
February 19, 2015 marks the year of the sheep. This is the most important of the Chinese holidays, celebrated by over 1.3 billion people in China and by millions of Chinese around the world. It’s a celebration that lasts for 15 days, culminating with the Lantern Festival. Worldwide, Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese and other Asians celebrate the beginning of a new year on the second new moon after the winter solstice. It’s a time to bond with family, honor ancestors and eat delicious food!
In China, the Gregorian calendar is used for day-to-day life. But Chinese calendar dates are continually used to mark traditional holidays like the new year. It’s also used astrologically to select favorable dates for weddings and other special events.
Chinese New Year celebrations lasts 15 days, from the first day (during a new moon) to the 15th day (a full moon). Every day is symbolic and varies according to the local traditions. Before the new year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away bad fortune and to welcome good luck. On New Year’s Eve, there are family gatherings to celebrate and enjoy sumptuous traditional feasts, and to greet the new year with fireworks at midnight. My coworker, William, is going to celebrate with the local church, which is hosting a potluck celebration – such a great way to celebrate the New Year!
The celebration ends on the 15th day with the Lantern festival, which falls on the night of the full moon. Families socialize in the streets carrying lighted lanterns, creating a beautiful light display.
When I was younger, my aunt took me to a Chinese New Year dinner. There must have been 10 people around this round table with a “lazy susan” in the middle. the food displayed was amazing, and it kept coming. This was the first time I tasted eel (still a favorite) and duck. It was a great experience for me. (I also learned how to drive on one-way streets in NYC).
Do you celebrate the Chinese New Year? Do you know what year you were born in according to the Chinese calendar? Click HERE to find out!