(CNN Spanish) — Chinese New Year officially begins on January 22 and the celebration that accompanies it Long and very important of that calendar. A holiday lasting 15 days is equivalent to combining Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Say goodbye to the Year of the Water Tiger and welcome the Year of the Water Rabbit in 2023.
After three years of travel restrictions during the pandemic, millions of families around the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year, considered the most important festival in the Chinese calendar.
The 15-day celebration is also known as the Spring Festival.
What exactly is Chinese New Year? Here we explain everything you need to know about this celebration that is expanding to many Asian countries.
What is Chinese New Year?
In fact, this is not its official name: in China, they are called festivals Spring Festival or Lunar New Year. Precisely, they begin with the second moon After the winter solsticeThe date is from late January to mid-February according to the Gregorian calendar.
Not a single day is celebrated. Chinese New Year celebrations start on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and last 15 days, when the full moon comes. This is usually the period Families come together And they travel long distances to visit their loved ones and come home. A tradition that has been threatened by the coronavirus for two consecutive years. For many it is Only chance of the year They should return to their homes and bring gift bags.
During the pandemic years, Beijing’s main railway station was packed with commuters ahead of Chinese New Year because authorities had not yet announced that the coronavirus was spreading person-to-person. Nor is it acknowledged that it is spreading outside the initial epicenter of the outbreak, Wuhan. Two days before the Lunar New Year, the city was completely locked down. However, millions of people in Beijing have already returned to their hometowns before the holiday begins. This accelerated the spread of the virus.
As it is celebrated?
Each of the 15 days that make up the celebration It has its own traditions. For example, on Chinese New Year’s Day, families gather together for dinner. It is customary to stay at the in-laws’ house to get good luck. Additionally, money is given in a red envelope called “Hong Bao”. For unaccompanied children and adults. In recent years, gifting has been moving towards digital.
The tradition of bursting firecrackers originates from the practice of lighting bamboo sticks to ward off evil spirits like the half-dragon, half-lion monster “Neon”. Coming out according to legend Hidden in the Lunar New Year to attack people. But his ears are his weakness, so in ancient times people used to set bamboo stalks on fire to scare him away. Over time this leads to fireworks.
and Lunar New Year It concludes with the Festival of Lights, is celebrated at night with parades and displays of decorated lights. The main event of the day is the dragon dance: beautiful dragons made of paper, silk and bamboo are held overhead and danced during the parade.
However, it is more of a tradition Almost done ––or suspended–– while the coronavirus pandemic continues. Because of this, some tourist sites offer free admission to those who are forced to spend the festivities away from their families. Also, companies have released tools to celebrate the “Lunar New Year in the Cloud,” offering everything from virtual marketplaces to conferencing tools to online dinner parties.
Why the Year of the Water Rabbit?
You may be familiar with the 12-year Chinese zodiac calendar, which is represented by 12 different animals. But, in reality, it is more complicated. A year is not only characterized by its zodiac animal. There is also a complex gender cycle – a combination of one of the 10 heavenly stems and one of the 12 terrestrial branches.
The sign in this cycle is the rabbit and the element water.
It goes back to February 20 of the Gregorian calendar.
This year starts on January 22 4721 In the Chinese calendar.
People born under the sign of Rat are said to have good human qualities, they are intelligent, considerate and compassionate. Confucius Institute Journal from the University of Valencia.
What Superstitions Characterize Chinese New Year?
First thing Do not take out the trash. The reason? It is said that by doing this you destroy luck and prosperity. On the second day, which is considered the beginning of the year, you will enjoy spending time with your family, especially your in-laws and your partner’s relatives.
On the third day, on the contrary, it is better not to see anyone. It was a day They are prone to arguments, according to tradition. You can celebrate on the seventh.
And red is a color that never goes away: It is associated with luck and prosperity, but is mainly used for protective purposes. (The “neon” monster is also feared by the color red.)
World’s Biggest Migration Happens During Chinese New Year?
In mainland China, “Chunyun”, the 40-day period surrounding the festival, sees many Chinese return to their hometowns to be with their families, and is often called the world’s largest human migration.
This year, after China’s recent relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, more families are expected to gather at home and abroad to celebrate the New Year.
Why are Chinese years identified with animals?
Chinese legend says Buddha summoned all the animals to meet him on New Year’s Day and named the years with the 12 animals that came. So the animals in Chinese calendar are Dog, Pig, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster. Tradition also says that those born in each animal year have certain personality traits of that animal.
With reporting by Nectar Gan, Lily Lee, Maggie Hiufu Wong and David Culver, all from CNN.