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Have a Happy Chinese New Year!
How to celebrate Chinese New Year and welcome the Year of the Monkey
Chinese New Year is celebrated in much the same way as other cultures celebrate important dates; family and friends, food, decorations, cultural activities, fireworks, and gifts.
Buildings are adorned with lucky lanterns, couplets, and images of prosperity. Many of the decorations will have red on them because red is considered to be a bearer of success. Traditionally the decorations go up on New Year’s Eve. As 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, many of the decorations will be related to monkeys, such as dolls, images and the like.
The New Year’s Eve dinner is called “reunion dinner”, Nian Ye Fan, meaning evening of the passing, and is a time for families to celebrate by being together and enjoying a feast. To the Chinese it is considered to be the most important meal of the year. Fish is always included because the Chinese word for fish sounds like surplus and it considered a lucky food. Anyone who has ever had the chance to partake in a Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner will tell you that it is something you don’t want to miss, should you have the opportunity.
Firecrackers are traditionally set off in a pattern of one small string and then three big ones in order to “sound out” the old year and “sound in” the new one. Prayer is important during this time as well. Many cultural activities and traditional performances will occur at this time as well. Gifts of money in red envelopes are given to children and retired seniors.
There are a number of activities that are considered bad luck and should not occur during the festival.
Do's and Don'ts of Chinese New Year
Wish everyone you meet a happy New Year by saying
"gong xi fa cai", which translates to: "Have a happy and
prosperous New Year!"
Wear articles of red clothing because red symbolizes luck.
Eat vegetarian food because it's not good to see blood.
Buy new trousers because the Chinese word for trousers
is "fu", (Chinese homonym for wealth)
Children should stay up as late as possible on New Year's Eve for it is believed that the later they stay up, the longer their parents will live.
Visit family (especially those older than yourself) and friends to pass on your wishes on good fortune for the New Year. (plus kids and single people will receive lai-see lucky red packets full of money.
Give two lai see to each child. Because happiness comes in two's, do not just give one. This is your way of passing good luck to the next generation. Business owners also give lai see to employees and associates.
Don't wear white or black clothing, since they are the traditional colours of mourning.
Don't buy new shoes for the first months of the New Year, because the sound of shoe in Chinese is "hai". "Hai" is similar to the sound of sighing, which Chinese believe is not a good way to start the year.
Don't wash your hair for the first three days of the New Year, because the Chinese word for hair is a homonym for the Chinese word for wealth. Therefore, Chinese believe it isn't a good thing to 'wash away your wealth' right at the start of the New Year.
Floors may not be swept and garbage may not be disposed of on the first day of the New Year for fear of casting riches out the door.
Don't swear or quarrel.
Don't break any dishes, otherwise you may incur more misfortune for the New Year. In the event of breaking a dish, quickly say "Peace for all time", and the bad luck will be warded away.
Don't greet people who are in mourning.
Don't drop your chopsticks.
Don't say the number 'four' (Chinese homonym for death) or mention death.
Don't borrow or lend money.
Have a happy and prosperous New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Michelle Vaughan brings passion and dedication to her clients in the Real Estate industry. She enjoys having the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives and does so with energy and tenacity. She specializes in North & West Vancouver Real Estate and has extensive knowledge of local neighborhoods and communities, acquired from years of personal and professional experience. http://michellevaughan.ca
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