Chinese New Years

Chinese New Years is the biggest and most important celebration in China. They call it “Spring Festival” because it marks the end of winter and beginning of spring and the new Chinese calendar, which is why it’s often referred to as Lunar New Year. In a lot of ways, it’s very much like Christmas for us. People pour a great deal of money into buying presents, clothes, decorations and food for themselves and their family. On New Years Eve (this upcoming Sunday), Chinese people travel to their relatives houses and have an annual reunion supper that includes their entire family. At the reunion, they exchange gifts, eat dumplings that have special “lucky” coins hidden inside, and family members young and old play mahjong together as they wait for it to turn midnight. They do a countdown to midnight, just like we do, and then they launch fireworks outside and the night ends with firecrackers. The next morning, the children wish their parents a happy and healthy year, and in return their parents give them red envelops filled with money. It’s tradition for all Chinese people to have new clothes and hairdo’s for New Years because they symbolize new beginnings and, clearly, a new year. The New Year means forgiving grudges, reconciling, and wishing peace to all those around you. Like I said before, it’s a huge deal in China. Stores and malls close down for close to a week and many people are travelling to other cities at this time.

This Chinese New Year is extra special to me obviously because I’m actually in China to celebrate it, but it’s also the Year of the Dragon, which is my birth year! I’m excited to see the fireworks (there’s sure to be a lot of them) and they’ve already decorated the streets with beautiful red lanterns and streamers. Today is the last day of work, they’ve given us Saturday off as a treat, and we get next week off for the holiday! Right in the middle of intensive is an excellent time to get a week off. I haven’t written much lately because I’ve been so boggled down with planning classes! I think for New Years a bunch of us will have dinner and then go see the fireworks together. The streets are going to be packed, I’m excited for it. It’s been very cold lately, hopefully by Sunday it’ll heat up a bit! That’s one of the reasons I’m so looking forward to Vietnam on Tuesday, it’s supposed to be plus 30 there right now!!!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gail Johnson
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 21:47:02

    Well Happy New Year! Sounds like a great holiday. Enjoy your trip. Really cold here too.


  2. Blaine C.
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 05:27:20

    You’re so lucky! Vietnam is supposed to be beautiful. I am soooo jealous.


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