Chinese New Year Traditions -- "Kung Hei Fat Choi"
Chinese New Year Traditions -- "Kung Hei Fat Choi"
Kung Hei Fat Choi simply means "Happy New Year -- Congratulations and may you have fast wealth or be prosperous”. This year it will be celebrated on February 14, 2010.
YEAR 2010 -- is the Year of the Golden Tiger
It begins on February 14, 2010 until February 2, 2011. The Tiger is one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet -- feared and revered in equal measure. It features in many Asian cultures as a manifestation of courage, power, passion and royalty as well. The New year for Chinese always falls on different dates every year because it is a combination of the solar and lunar movements. It means winter is over and spring is beginning. Thus, Lunar New Year is also called the Spring Festival.
Chinese believe in the balance of nature, the Yin and the Yang that is why they also adhere to "feng shui" -- the believe that there is correlation between humans and the universe. It is also the ancient Chinese system of beauty and use of the laws of both -- astronomy -- and geography (heaven and earth) to help one improve life by receiving positive vibrations.
They also use different calendar different from the Roman calendar, that is why they have different date for the celebration of New Year.
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What Does New Year means to Chinese?
According to a Chinese proverb : All creatures are reborn on New years Day and thus such it is a celebration for change. You should change all your behavior to bring good luck to you, put out the old behavior and here comes the new you in all aspects of your life. Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is in itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most ---
My grandfather is a half-Chinese half-Spaniard who migrated to the Philippines in the early 20thcentury from China because of poverty. He worked hard and then married one of the local -- my grandmother who is a native Filipina. Every year we celebrate two New Year, growing up a Christian it means we celebrate Christmas traditions and New Year as well (similar to the Western world) while we also celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Western type of culture which influenced me was brought about by the 300 years of colonization of the Philippines by the Spaniards and the American influence (they colonized the Philippines for fifty years) and leaving us the American way of school system. English is the language spoken in school although our national language is Filipino and we have 80 plus local dialects.
Chinese in the Philippines is a growing number of population mostly because of business and close relations and intermarriages to locals.
Chinese New Year Traditions:
New Year is the most important celebration and time of the year for Chinese.
Things to do:
- Wear brand new clothes and cut your hair is like a new beginning for you, new outlook, new life, new beginning. Wear a red color dress. Never wear white as it is for mourning and signifies death.
- Do not borrow money or lend money on that day
- Don’t greet people who are in mourning, as death may occur to you and in your family
- Don’t sweep the floor because you might sweep all the good luck coming in
Decorations at Home on New Years Day
- You should decorate your home with symbols of wealth and fortune like bright red (means happiness) and Gold/orange (wealth and happiness)
- Fruits like oranges and tangerines are good and then put it in the center table. This is for good health and long life
- Get a circular tray and put some candies on it -- for togetherness
- Get a flower vase and put fresh flowers on them
- Your house should be be very lively; red is preferred, get banners with New Years wishes and gold colors on it, which is a symbol of fortune
Food On New Years day
- Chicken should not be cut in pieces, (On my mother side we don’t cook chicken as it is bad luck but in my fathers side we do cook chicken because according to Chinese it symbolizes wealth)
- Noodles connotes long life --- longevity, it should not be cut
- Prepare a Jai -- it is a combination of food with good fortune --- comprises of ginkgo nuts == black moss == dried bean curd -- bamboo shoots and vermicelli plus scallion.
- Desserts should always include oranges and Chinese New Year cake --ni gao-- plus prosperous cakes
Before the New Years eve, you should have done the following:
- Pay all your debts
- Clean the entire room and throw all the things that are associated with the old year
- Put away all brooms and brushes
- You should make peace with each other and avoid grudges with each family members. Settle dispute with every people
- You need to have red envelope which you put money on it, “good luck envelopes” this is called "lee see" which you put money fresh bills from the bank to be given to children
- On the New Years eve celebrate it with the close family members (excluding daughters who are already married)
- Pay respect to your ancestors and household gods and you must acknowledge the presence of ancestors because they are responsible for the fortunes of future generations as well
- Open every door and window in your home at midnight to let go of the old year. (BRRRRRR cold here in the Western world, we cant do this here)
- Members of the family should go and pay respects to their elders on the first day of the Chinese New Year to wish them good health, good fortune. The -elders- include not only the older members but also anyone who is more senior.
- You should also decorate your home with flowers like peach tree, potted mandarin orange tree -- and cut flowers
Now you are ready to celebrate the NEW YEAR the Chinese way.
KUNG HEI FAT CHOI to everyone!!