Tuesday 29 January 2013

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2013

Courtesy: Picasa Web/ Cindy Woo 
Chinese New Year is just around the corner!  In 2013, the first day of Chinese New Year, according to the Lunar calendar, will fall on February 10th.  Chinese New Year festivities don't just end in a day, it is celebrated over a period of around 15 days and during this period, it is typical for families and friends to visit one another at their homes, or to meet for a Chinese feast at a restaurant.

So, what is the Chinese New Year animal for 2013?
This will be the Year of the Snake.  There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and each year is represented by one of these animals.  Other animals include the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Family Reunion Dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve
In 2013, February 9th is Chinese New Year's Eve and marks the last day of the Year of the Dragon.  This day is an important one as it is traditionally when family members meet for a sumptuous feast.  This is also known as the Family Reunion Dinner.

Chinese New Year Decorations for the house
Popular decorations for the house include indoor plants like orchids or a Kumquat plant.  Red packets and cards are often displayed in homes or hung on plants decoratively.

Round fruits like mandarins or the more exotic pomelo, are considered to be lucky, and often exchanged as gifts.

Check out these Orchid displays in our home to bring in the Chinese New Year:

Traditions for Chinese New Year
Some of the most common traditions include the giving of "Lai See" from married couples to children.  "Lai See" are also known as "Ang Pow", and are essentially small red packets filled with money.  In the past, recipients of Lai See usually also included any individual that was not married, although this might be a little outdated in today's world.

Red is deemed to be a lucky colour and is the colour of choice for clothing, cards and decorations during the festive period.

Other interesting traditions that have been passed down from many generations ago, include the cleaning of one's home before the new year begins.  Dusting or sweeping is frowned upon on Chinese New Years Day, as it is seen to be an act of removing good luck for the coming year.  A somewhat related tradition (perhaps less popular nowadays) suggests that one should also not wash their hair on this day for the same reason.

And lastly, if you wish to greet someone during the Chinese New Year, you can say: "Kung Hei Fatt Choy" (Cantonese) or "Gong Xi Fa Cai" (Mandarin).

Kung Hei Fatt Choy to you all!

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