What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is a festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year based on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, begins when the “new moon” appears. This takes place between 21st January and 20th February in the Gregorian calendar.
The celebration is commonly called “Spring Festival” in China, marking the end of winter and the beginning of the spring season.
In China, the festival is marked by a week of public holidays known as Golden week.
How did the festival originate?
The roots of the Chinese New Year are immersed in legend. The legend goes that a monster named Nian was banished by an elderly villager during the night using red papers and firecrackers.
Today, during the Spring Festival red lanterns are hung, red scrolls placed on windows and doors, and firecrackers and drums are used to “frighten away” Nian.
Many traditions of the season honour relatives who have died. Among other Chinese New Year traditions is the thorough cleaning of one’s home to rid the resident of any lingering bad luck. The last event held during the Chinese New Year is called the Lantern Festival, during which people hang glowing lanterns in temples or carry them during a night-time parade.
Where in the world is Lunar New Year celebrated?
The festival is not just celebrated in China; a number of different countries have public holidays during the Lunar New Year. These include Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Chinese communities located in other parts of the world also celebrate Lunar New Year, including Australia, Canada, Mauritius, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and The United States.
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