10 things you didn’t know about Chinese New Year!

17th February 2021

Gong Hei Fat Choy! This Friday, Feb 12 2021 is Chinese New Year of the Ox. The second symbol of the Chinese zodiac, the Ox is linked to Buddhism and known as a year of positivity, with hard work, loyalty and gratitude manifested in us all.

Get ready to celebrate as you find out more about Chinese New Year with these fascinating facts:

1. 12 Chinese zodiac signs represent each month, with a symbolic animal also used to represent the year ahead. They are Rat (or Mouse), Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

2. Chinese New Year traditions and decorations were influenced by The Legend of Nian. Nian is the legendary beast who roamed the land, forcing people to hide as he destroyed crops and terrorised villeges on Chinese NYE.

3. Villagers discovered Nian was afraid of loud noises and the colour red. Red decorations, roaring lion dances and firecrackers are traditionally used to ward Nian away.

4. Chinese New Year’s Eve is also known as Reunion Night. In China, many people work in the city while their older relatives live in rural villages. The amount travelling is known as Chunyun or Spring Migration, as everyone is expected home to celebrate!

5. Chinese New Year originated about 4000 years ago during the Shang Dynasty, with family reunions and delicious food to honour China, and events such as Dragon and Lion parades and firework displays taking place to worship ancestors and ward off plague spirits.

6. On New Year’s Day, Chinese children receive gifts called Luck Money in red envelopes from older relatives. These gifts symbolise the flow of prosperity from one generation to the next.

7. Chinese New Year is the grandest festival in China, and is also known as The Spring Festival or Lunar New Year Festival. Chinese New Year blesses the prosperity of the approaching Spring harvest ever since the fortunes of Chinese people became dependent on agricultural production.

8. The date of Chinese New Year changes annually because instead of the Solar calendar, holidays are based on the Lunar calendar, which ranges between January 21st and February 20th.

9. Chinese New Year’s Day is the start of 16 days of celebration. People deep-clean their homes to dust away bad luck, spruce themselves up to meet the new year, and clear spaces to make room for good luck in preparation!

10. It’s good luck to avoid negative talk during the beginning of the new year, and forbidden to use the unlucky number four, or si (四) as the pronunciation of “four” is similar to that of “death” and considered to bring misfortune.

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