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Why people celebrate Chinese New Year?

Updated on January 19, 2016

There is not much time happened when the world celebrated New Year 2016 in different traditions. Some people revere it with fireworks, some with music & dancing and some by visiting their relatives. That celebration buzz was amazing and ended with lots of hopes and plans in for this year.

Now it is the time to welcome Chinese New Year which will be honored exceptionally in many countries around the world. This celebration is termed as one of the biggest celebrations after the English calendar year’s celebrations. The day will be decided depending on Chinese Lunar calendar not the Gregorian calendar, which will be on Monday February 8. According to the months in Chinese calendar, it will commence in between January 21 to February 20 every year. As this is the biggest festival in China, a weeklong holiday has been announced, most Chinese will be off at work in second week of February, 2016.

Chinese have a 12 year animal zodiac cycle according to which the year is named. So this year is named as the Monkey year. The year 2004 was the last Monkey year before this and the people who born in this year are called monkeys. Below is the table showing next five year dates and names.

Gregorian
Date
Animal
2016
Feb 8
Monkey
2017
Jan 28
Rooster
2018
Feb 16
Dog
2019
Feb 5
Pig
2020
Jan 25
Rat

History behind

The New Year, Guo Nian (过年) in Chinese, which literally means “Defeat Nian” or overcome the Nian will be performed in Chinese traditional and religious style. There is a historic story behind this auspicious day that people say. There was a monster named Nian in the ancient times with sharp horns and long head that nest deep in the sea. It comes to land on New Year Eve to eat people in the villages around the shore. Scared of this monster, people used to leave the villages on that specific day.

Some years later, an old man with white hair visited that village on the seashore and he refused to leave his home and village on New Year eve and decided to stay there. He planned big to agitate the Nian itself. He wore red clothes, burnt bamboos to make firework sounds, lighted candles and pasted red papers on all the doors. Because of all these, the monster Nian was scared and gone back into the sea bed without damaging a thing. When the people came back to their village and saw this they were surprised and enquired with the old man. Then he explained all to the villagers and instructed them to do it on every New Year eve’s day. Since then it has become a tradition and now people enjoy this all around the world.

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The red envelopes will be distributed among the children by their parents and elders. The red envelopes, (called Yasui Qian in Chinese) are given to unmarried. It is said that there was a demon called Sui who used to scare children by touching them in the olden days. Those children were feared, used to cry out loud and even become mentally unstable. Kids use these envelopes to wrap coins inside and put them under their pillows when sleeping. If the demon Sui tries to scare them while sleeping, then these coins wrapped in red envelopes will emit strong light and scare it away.

Apart from these, all the streets will be decorated with red colored lights, spring couplets will be pasted on the doors. Red lanterns will be hanged in streets. All cities, especially in China will be colored in Red as this color is believed to be a lucky and favorable color for Chinese. The countries that are celebrating CNY are China, Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, Taiwan and Singapore. So be prepared to witness the awe-inspiring traditions and activities of Chinese New Year. In 2017 this day will be on January 28 and will be called as the year of Rooster.

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