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Why Do We Celebrate Chinese New Year?

Updated on January 30, 2012
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Chinese New Year is the Chinese community’s largest and most important annual festivity. Signifying the start of the new lunar calendar year, the Chinese community will hold celebrations and festivities for fifteen days. It is customary to bring in the New Year by purchasing new clothing and getting a new and tidy haircut. However, the reason why we celebrate Chinese New Year is far more significant – yet blatantly similar to all other cultures – than just an opportunity to receive a bit of money and wear new clothes.

The Origins – What is Chinese New Year?

Like most societies, annual festivities are based on century-old, possibly millennia-old, stories and tales. The same is the case with the Chinese community and Chinese New Year.

According to the tale, many years ago there was a little village that, on every lunar New Year ’s Eve, would be terrorized by a dragon called Nian – which translates to “Year.” However, one year the villagers found that if they adorned their village with red decorations, red attire and fired-off fire crackers in order to create loud noises, the dragon Nian would not terrorize the village. Hence, the value of the color of red to the Chinese community.

When is Chinese New Year?

As I mentioned earlier, Chinese New Year occurs at the start of each and every lunar calendar year. But this translates to a different time with regards to the Gregorian calendar that much of the world uses. Chinese New Year usually takes place within the first couple of months of the Gregorian calendar, though. In 2011, the year of the Rabbit, Chinese New Year took place at the beginning of February. However, this year (2012), the year of the Dragon, Chinese New Year began on January 23rd, and lasted fifteen days.

Chinese New Year Food

As is the case with celebrations that are commonly celebrated in the United States – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah – big meals and family-involvement are usually a staple of what the whole occasions are about. The same is the case with Chinese New Year. In fact, Chinese New Year is so important inChinathat the beginning of the year will always result in the largest migration of human population as workers inChinacommute back home for the celebrations.

Though different people prepare different types of meals when in comes to Chinese New Year food, however, a commonality between all Chinese people is the use of noodles and chicken. Noodles are symbols of longevity; the longer the noodles eaten, the better luck you’ll have with health and prosperity. Chicken is symbolic of happiness and marriage; both things everybody wants, regardless of culture or race.

But why do we celebrate?

Returning back to the point I was trying to make in the introduction, despite all the decorations and hype that surrounds Chinese New Year, the real reason the occasion is so significant is because of something that is inherent in all human beings.

If we look at civilization back in the day – back when there were no decorations or elaborate performances that are associated with festive occasions – there was people spending time and enjoying the company of other people. Family and friends are the reason why Chinese New Year is not only significant for the Chinese community, but also for anyone lucky enough to experience the festivities from the outside.

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    • profile image

      Lisa 

      23 months ago

      What did they wear

    • profile image

      stargirl 

      2 years ago

      need more info!

    • profile image

      lolster 

      2 years ago

      Awesome

    • profile image

      Mrs.mark tuan 

      2 years ago

      Good....

    • profile image

      marjorie 

      3 years ago

      its helpful...but we/I need more info.

    • profile image

      na linh 

      3 years ago

      I don't really understand why chinese new year is celebrated.I need more INFORMATION!

    • profile image

      Dorothy 

      3 years ago

      Hi

      Thanks for Sharing this article. Most of the people celebrating new year. http://www.happynewyearblog.com/

    • profile image

      Mushfiqur Rahman 

      3 years ago

      Chinese New Year is fun to learn about.

    • profile image

      Marzuk Rashid 

      3 years ago

      I learned so much about Chinese New Year.Thanks.

    • profile image

      Jacob 

      4 years ago

      depends Mongol Dynasty

    • profile image

      Erik 

      4 years ago

      depends Mongol Dynasty.

    • profile image

      hot gal deva 

      4 years ago

      nice gob u answered my question luv it

    • profile image

      stephanie yap 

      5 years ago

      useful:)

    • profile image

      hassan ali 

      5 years ago

      i think the picture is alright

    • profile image

      hi 

      6 years ago

      LOL :)

    • profile image

      yo mum 

      6 years ago

      thanks for the info you are so skuxxxxx

    • profile image

      Alexa ^-^ 

      6 years ago

      Ilike Chessee!!!! ^u^

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 

      6 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and useful!

      I learnt about Chinese New Year from your hub. It is good to learn about various things so I liked it very much.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      6 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Luse, Interesting hub, thank you for the insight into this beautiful and colorful tradition. voted up

    • sabrani44 profile image

      sabrani44 

      6 years ago

      Great hub, learned a lot of new things. Thanks for sharing.

    • luse profile imageAUTHOR

      luse 

      6 years ago from Boston, MA

      Thanks, annart!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      6 years ago from SW England

      Interesting hub. It's true that it's always great to celebrate together with a well-intentioned, happy, traditional group of people Voted up and interesting.

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