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Chinese Lunar New Year

Updated on January 26, 2018
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I like to share information that makes life more joyful and meaningful. My main interests are health and general wellness in body and mind.

Year Of The Dog (2018)

Chinese Lunar New Year : Year Of The Dog (2018)

I update this article once a year, usually about a month before the next Chinese Lunar New Year.

For this year 2018, the Chinese Lunar New Year falls on Friday, 16 February. On this Chinese Lunar New Year, in China alone, 1.3 billion people will be celebrating this important Spring Festival. And in Taiwan, 24 million people. What about the overseas Chinese spread across the globe? Their number is estimated at 40 million. It is certainly one of the most widely celebrated events in the world, both in numbers and geographical areas.

In China, it is popularly referred to as the Spring Festival, welcoming the beginning of Spring. During this period, migrant workers would be returning to their native homes in time for the reunion dinner with their families on Chinese Lunar New Year‘s eve. This is the period where the largest human migration takes place, not only in China but also across the world where there is a Chinese population.

Returning home for Chinese New Year

Ending the Lunar New Year with colorful display of fireworks

Chinese Lunar New Year : Celebrating Spring Festival

Variations in the celebration are as diverse as the Chinese communities. However, most of the Chinese will associate with the following celebrations.

• Spring cleaning prior to the New Year. Giving the home a thorough clean-up.
• Reunion dinner. This is most significant as families will gather to have dinner together on new year’s eve.
• Visits to relatives and friends.
• Wearing new clothes, especially red in color.
• Giving “red packets” (with money inside the packets) to juniors and children by married people and elders.
• Lion dance and dragon dance performances.
• Letting off fire crackers and fireworks.
• And of course, special food and drinks.

Chinese New Year traditionally is celebrated for 15 days, starting from the first day of the New Year. The 15th day is called Yuan Xiao Jie (元宵节), or in Fujian dialect, Chap Goh Meh (15th night). This day is specially significant for the Fujian people. Most Taiwanese are from this province. I am also a Fujien, or in our dialect, “Hokkien.” In mainland China, the 15th day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival. In our country, Malaysia, the Lantern Festival is actually on the 15th of the eighth month, commonly known as the mooncake festival.

As the 15th day is the last day of the Lunar New Year celebration, it holds a special significance and the Chinese make sure the end of this special season ends with a big bang and with glamor and color. The 15th day is also the Chinese version of Valentine's Day, which needs no additional explanation. And to give it a fitting culmination, there will be the most colorful display of fireworks near midnight, everywhere! It is always a loud, romantic and colorful end to the Spring Festival.

And yes, the Fujian also celebrate on the night of the 8th day by praying to “Tian gong” or “Ti Kong” in Hokkien dialect ,which I would loosely translate as the “Heavenly God”.

Red Packets

The Chinese Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac has a 12-year cycle with each year being represented by an animal. The 12-year cycle repeats five times to form a main cycle of 60 years. In each of the 12-year cycles, the animals are ascribed with an element of wood, fire, earth, metal, or water. The animals in that order is rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This is the year of the rooster, the “fire” rooster to be exact.

Chinese horoscope is a very detailed and complicated subject. So we shall just leave it for now and talk about the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Lion Dance

Dragon Dance

Characteristics Of The “Dog” Person

The "dog" occupies the 11th position of the Chinese Zodiac. In Chinese zodiac cosmology, each year is associated with one of the five natural elements of nature; metal, wood, water, fire and earth. This is the year of the earth dog. The cycle comes full circle once every 60 years.

According to traditional belief, the year of one's birth sign is not an auspicious one. So be forewarned to be careful if you are a dog person. Be that as it may, dog people are very loyal, independant, sincere, and courageous. They are very resilient and are not afraid of difficulties in life. They are at ease with people and can easily develop harmonious relationship with others.

Famous “Dog” Personalities

Some of the famous Western personalities under the "dog" sign are listed below:

Jennifer Lopez, Bill Clinton, Prince William, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Winston Churchill, Michael Jackson and Benjamin Franklin.

"Xinnian Kuaile" means "Happy New Year". "Gong Xi" means "Felicitation"

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    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Thanks, this was very interesting and informative.