Chinese New Year Essay, Research Paper
Chinese New Year
Every country has their own holiday system. Different countries have different holidays. There are also some common holidays that people celebrate around the world, such as Christmas and New Year. Different countries have their own definition of the New Year. Therefore, they celebrate their own New Year, not only on the first day of January, but also on a certain day or days every year. A good example is the Chinese New Year. Do you know when the Chinese New Year is? How long do Chinese people celebrate their New Year? Have you ever see how the Chinese celebrate their own New Year? Chinese celebrate their own New Year in a unique way.
First of all, Chinese people have celebrated their New Year as a spring festival for thousands of years. It s a time for families and friends to visit. Since Chinese culture has a very long history, there is a very traditional way of celebrating the New Year. They also developed their own calendar system called the Lunar Calendar. The Chinese New Year appears very changeable from day to day every year, because it is based on this calendar. A long time ago, most of the people in China were farmers. Every day life followed the cycles of planting and harvest. The New Year s festival was held after the fall harvest and before the start of the spring planting season. The Lunar Calendar, based on the moon, begins in a month with a new moon. The Chinese New Year is the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, and it lasts for fifteen days until the full moon. Each year the holiday falls sometime between January 21 and February 19. This year, the Chinese New Year is going to be on February 16.
Chinese people also developed twelve different animals to stand for each year. After twelve years, the cycle of animals begins again. The animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. This year is the Year of the Rabbit, and according to the Chinese calendar, it s the 4697th Year. Why would they choose Rat as the beginning of the cycle? How did the Chinese Animal Antics develop? There is a very old story, which tells us about this. The animals were having an argument after they heard that they were going to be assigned to stand for each year. Each of them wanted to be the very first animal of the year. So the God said that the animals must have a race across a river. The winner would start the cycle of years. All the animals leaped into the water together. The strong ox soon took the lead. The other animals struggled behind him; all except Rat. No one had noticed that Rat crouched on Ox s back. Just before Ox touched the other side, Rat leaped onto the bank and won the race. The Chinese also believe that a person born in the year of a certain animal will act in some ways like that animal, or have some certain kinds of characteristics.
A week before the New Year, every Chinese family starts to prepare for it. In the Chinese tradition, the New Year is the most important day in a year. Everyone wants to have a new and good beginning in the coming year. Therefore, people begin to clean their house. Everywhere in the house has to be cleaned, because people all want to give their home a new look. According to some old people, they believe that evil spirits won t recognize you in the new look. Then, people like to do some decoration on their walls, windows, and doors. They usually like to put some red pieces of paper that have some Chinese words written on them on the walls, windows, and doors. These Chinese word all mean good things, such as, luck, wealth, etc. People choose red because they think that is the lucky color for New Year. Therefore, you can see a lot of red things everywhere among Chinese when the Chinese New Year is coming. After all of this, people usually prepare a lot of food for the New Year Eve, such as fish, duck, chicken, and vegetables. After people have enough food to celebrate the New Year, they begin to sew or buy new clothing. Chinese used to dress very nicely when the New Year came, but today the dress is more casual
Then, the New Year Eve comes. Every members of the family must come back home to celebrate the New Year together. If some of them really couldn t make it, the rest of the family would leave an empty chair for those people when it is dinnertime. At the dinner, you can see a lot of delicious dishes on the table. Because these dishes are so good, I usually get a stomachache after the dinner. Chinese people usually cook dumplings that night. Dumplings are the most traditional and typical food when Chinese celebrate the New Year. There is another traditional food that usually appears on the table. It is called Nian Gao. That is a special cake made by rice and sugar. It tastes sweet and sticky, but it means that sweetness and luck will always stick with you.
When it is 12:00 am, people start to come out of their home. Children start to play with firecrackers on the street. Firecrackers are almost synonymous with the Chinese New Year. Firecrackers were used to chase away the mythical monster, Nian, which once terrorized the people, but over time, their loud noises have been used to create the jovial, holiday mood. My grandmother used to tell me the story about monster Nian when I was a kid. She told me this monster Nian was a giant monster. It came down from the sky every Chinese New Year. Whenever Nian came down, people have to offer him a huge amount of food, otherwise he would destroy everything. People were very scared, so they did as Nian wanted. Later on, children found out that Nian was very scared to hear the sound of firecrackers. Then, people encouraged children to play with firecrackers on every Chinese New Year. It finally has become a part of Chinese tradition. While children are playing with their firecrackers, other people just wander around, or they go to visit their friends and relatives. Children are happy about this, because that means they are going to receive a lot of Hongbao. Hongbao is a red little envelope, which contains cash gifts in even denominations like $8 or $12 for luck. All unmarried children are eligible to receive Hongbao, but do make sure that you first greet your elders or married friends.
In the morning of the New Year, the Chinese usually have a big parade on the street, and you can see the Dragon Dance and the Lion Dance. They are also synonymous with Chinese New Year, especially the Lion Dance. The Lion Dance is a remarkable piece of performance art and athletics. It s normally performed by two people. It takes years of training and practicing before one can be good enough to give a public performance. It’s no surprise that many Lion Dancers are also practitioners of Chinese martial arts, or Kung Fu, because this performance will be a long time. Those performers have to be very strong, and they have to know how to do some moves that involves some martial arts, or Kung Fu.
During the next two weeks, Chinese people will still keep celebrating their New Year. However, the rest of the celebration is mostly about greeting friends and relatives. People would like to take their time to go visit their friends or relatives, who are living kind of far away from them, so they can still keep in touch with each other. Now, as we can see, the Chinese New Year is the longest holiday for Chinese people.
It s clear, then, that the Chinese have quite an interesting way to celebrate their own New Year. Most of it is just based on the Chinese traditions, and their way to celebrate the New Year hasn t changed for a long period of time. If you study about Chinese culture, you can see that tradition plays a very important role in Chinese life, especially the Chinese New Year.