HOW TO CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR IN 2020
One of the most fascinating parts about exploring and living in foreign lands is that you get to mix and mingle with different cultures, sample exotic foods – and celebrate unique festivities. Indonesia is particularly exciting as its mix of Chinese, Muslim and Hindu people meaning that there’s a vast array of festivities and ceremonies happening throughout the year. Which brings us to Chinese New Year – also known as the ‘Spring Festival’ or ‘Lunar New Year ’.
HISTORY OF CHINESE NEW YEAR
Chinese New Year is a 16-day festival full of celebrations, gatherings and rituals. There are many myths and stories surrounding the origin of Chinese New Year, but essentially it marked the planting of the farmers harvests ‘new beginnings’ – observing the letting go of the past to make way for the new. Depending on the day of the full moon, the dates of Chinese Year vary each year. In 2020, Chinese New Year will begin on January 25 and end on February 4th.
CHINESE NEW YEAR TRADITIONS
Red is the colour of Chinese New Year, symbolic of good fortune and you will see pops of this everywhere. Shopfronts are often adorned with red decorations such as paper lanterns and hanging red chili peppers. Wearing red clothing is also significant and men and women often dress in red Tang suits and elegant Cheongsam long shirt-dresses as well as wear red jewelry. The young and unmarried are given money in red envelopes for good luck. Red is the colour of good energy and vitality.
CHINESE NEW YEAR TRADITIONAL FOOD
During the 16-day spring festival, there are many gatherings and dinners, some with games and wine. Food-wise, every dish is said to have an auspicious meaning – not just the dish itself, but also how it’s prepared and served. Just some of the delicacies that are offered during Chinese New Year are dumplings, spring and egg rolls, soup balls, rice cakes and wine. Steamed fish is thought to increase prosperity while dumplings signify wealth. There’s noodles for longevity and sweet rice balls to honor family and togetherness – every dish Is symbolic.
WHAT TO WEAR ON CHINESE NEW YEAR
With Chinese New Year a time of renewal, then traditionally one would dress in a beautiful new outfit to celebrate a fresh start and new beginnings. While there’s not one outfit is actually required to wear, many dress in red (and it’s important to avoid wearing black and white as they are considered unlucky). As mentioned earlier, Tang Suits are the most popular attire while the Cheongsam long shirt dress looks elegant on just about everyone – even wearing chopsticks as a hair accessory can be a subtle way to honor the important occasion.
2020 IS THE CHINESE NEW YEAR OF THE RAT
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the Year of the Rat. In Chinese astrology. General characteristics of the Rat include wealth, popularity, optimism and industrialism. The other eleven Chinese zodiac animal signs include Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and the Pig – what are you?
ABOUT THE LANTERN FESTIVAL
The finale of Chinese New Year is the Lantern Festival that is held on the first full moon of the lunar year. Wander around Chinatown in any country in the world and join in on the party of families and friends celebrating together, street lion dance performances and floating red lanterns. Typical foods eaten during the day of the lantern festival include glutinous rice balls filled with sweet red bean or sesame paste – delicious! The red lantern festival is the party day where you wish others great happiness and good fortune for the year ahead. A must-do!
HOW TO WISH YOUR FRIENDS ‘HAPPY NEW YEAR’ IN CHINESE
In Mandarin, it’s common to say ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’ – ‘congratulations on the fortune’ while in Cantonese, you will hear ‘Gong Hei Fat Choy’.
CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR