What’s it all about?
According to Chinese culture, the New Year marks the rebirth of all living things and the coming of spring. Celebrations last 15 days, but before the party can start, families take care of last year’s business: housecleaning, paying off debts, buying new clothes, and getting a fresh hair cut.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, falls on a different date each year, because it follows the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
The Launch Party
New Year’s Eve is a time for feasting with family. At midnight, guests are served a banquet of traditional foods: a whole fish (representing togetherness), a chicken — head and all — is placed on the table (ensures prosperity) and long noodles (uncut to represent a long life). After dinner, superstition sparks partiers to fling open their doors and windows to let the spirits of past year depart, and the new enter. Firecrackers are set off to chase away bad luck.
Parade of Light
On the 15th day of the New Year people swarm the streets, clad in red and gold, the colours of luck and prosperity, for the Lantern Festival. Children parade through the streets carrying lanterns, while dragon dancers perform a graceful dance. A symbol of strength, goodness, and luck, the dragon is said to awaken on this occasion, and fly across the country bringing rain to the crops, and prosperity to the farmers.
Bite into the Chinese New Year
Bring the festive spirit of the Chinese New Year to your home with one of these culinary creations: