The Days in the Chinese New Year

By: Henry KH Fong

The first day of the first lunar month is the start of the Chinese New Year and this important celebration lasts for fifteen days. The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and is also celebrated throughout Asia, not only in China. The Chinese zodiac, a twelve-year cycle, and the heavenly stems, a ten-year cycle, all coincide with the Chinese New Year.

The first Chinese New Year was a celebration due to the banishment of a horrid beast, Nian (translation - Year). Nian would arrive at villages on the first day of the New Year and eat all off the food and people, especially children, as it could. Villagers would leave out food hoping to make it full before it could eat anyone. It was soon discovered that red frightened Nian and red lanterns would be hung out. Soon Nian was scared off for good. This myth is considered the reason for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Traditionally the Chinese New Year uses red lanterns and firecrackers to celebrate.

There is a huge amount of travel that occurs during this time as the Chinese New Year is a time to visit all of your relatives. Homes are extensively cleaned to sweep away last years bad luck and welcome in the New Years good luck. Many other actions such as getting a new haircut are a celebration of the new start.

The first day of the Chinese New Year welcome sin the deities of earth and the heavens. Most individuals do not eat meat during this time. Most food is cooked the day before as the use of knives and fires are thought to bring bad luck. The first day is also when the family will visit the oldest or most senior members of their family. During the second day of the New Year the married daughter will visit her birth parents. Individuals also pray to the god and ancestors and also celebrate dogs.

The third and fourth day are prone to arguments so no traveling is done. Traveling stops also to respect those loved ones that may have died over the past few years. The fifth day celebrated the Chinese god of wealth by eating dumplings, a symbol of wealth.

The seventh day is the commons man birthday and it is on this day that everyone turns one year older. Traditionally a raw fish salad is consumes. On the ninth day individuals will pray to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, as this is his birthday. Offerings of sugarcane are made and tea is drunk to honor a particular chosen individual. On the fifteenth day or last day of the New Year. Is the lantern festival where candles are lit outside homes to guide spirits home.

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