Happy Chinese New Year! Facts About The ‘Year Of The Dog’

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The 2018 Chinese New Year begins today and is expected to last for fifteen days. Even if you’re not in China to celebrate, there are ways to learn more about it. We have collected some informative facts below so you can better get to know and celebrate the Year Of The Dog.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival in modern China, and one of the Lunar New Years in Asia, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.

The Chinese New Year festival is a color show of bright outfits, street parades and fireworks. Often, banners are hung and homes are decorated with traditional symbols and motifs.

The festival date changes every year. This is because it follows the lunar calendar, based on the movement of the moon. Usually, it falls on a day between mid-January and mid-February.

In China, each lunar cycle has 60 years and 12 years is regarded as a small cycle. Each of the 12 years is defined by an animal sign: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. 2018 is the Year of the Dog.

The reunion dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve is a big feast to commemorate the past year. This is the most important time to be with families.

The streets, people and houses are mainly all decorated in the color red. In Chinese culture red is the symbol of happiness, wealth and prosperity, and can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.

All families set off fireworks to celebrate the festival. The biggest firework show is on Lunar New Year’s Eve.

“Guo Nian Hao” is one of the most used Chinese New Year greetings — meaning “Happy New Year.” According to legend, the “Year” (pronounced Nian in Mandarin) is an animal, a man-eating and havoc-wrecking beast. He makes his lone visit at the year-end. That’s the reason for the fireworks – people hope to drive the Nian beast away with the noise from all the firecrackers. The Chinese, in short, pacify their enemies first. The enemies might be real or imagined, but the Chinese are convinced they’re always there. If you have pacified your enemies and exorcised your demons, you can say properly: Guo Nian Hao!

For the Chinese New Year, instead of wrapped gifts, children get red envelops stuffed with lucky money from grandparents, uncles, aunts and other elders who have started to earn their way.

Happy Chinese New Year! Facts About The 'Year Of The Dog'
People usually always wear beautiful new clothes to  to symbolize a new beginning

The Chinese Near Year is not only celebrated in Mainland China, but also observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and some other Asian countries as well as Chinatowns around the world.

A popular Chinese New Year treat is a candied crab apple on a stick.
Happy Chinese New Year! Facts About The 'Year Of The Dog'
An old Chinese belief says that the second day of the new year is the birthday of all dogs and that people should be extra kind to dogs that day

The Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival, which takes place on the 15th (and last) day of the celebration. The lanterns are believed to light the way for the new year.

According to Chinese tradition, whatever someone does on New Year’s Day sets the precedent for the rest of the year.

On the Chinese New Year, no one uses scissors or knives because it is believed using them might cut off good fortune.

One New Year’s Day, Chinese families eat a vegetarian dish consisting of 18 ingredients called jai. All 18 ingredients have been attributed with superstitious qualities, such as the lotus seed (for male offspring), black moss seaweed (for wealth), and bamboo shoots (for wellness).

The two flowers most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year are the plum blossom, which is a symbol of courage and hope, and the water narcissus, which symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

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