Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy New Year - 新年好

Streets in all the major Chinese cities appear empty as millions have left to visit their families for the most important holiday of the year: Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival. The official start is 3:48pm PST on February 18, 2015. Xīnnián hǎo can be heard as the most common greeting, meaning New Year Goodness. 


Preparations for this important day (the Spring Festival can actually be celebrated for 15 days) are in full swing: Houses are cleaned thoroughly, symbolizing the sweeping out of bad luck of the last year and inviting good luck in. Houses are decorated with red lanterns. Some may have bought new clothes and shoes, even got a haircut in celebration for this important new beginning. Businesses are supposed to pay off their old debts. And gifts are being selected to be exchanged, from old to young.



Traditional Fruit (Oranges, Tangerines)

The festivities may start with a lion dance and often include fireworks and the use of loud firecrackers. History or legend tell us that the color red and the noise of the firecrackers scare off the beast Nian who in the past put fear into villagers. The highlight of the day is the Reunion Dinner, comparable to the Thanksgiving Dinner in the US. Red envelopes containing money may be distributed, food, fruits and sweets are common gifts when visiting elders or in-laws. 


The Year will be 4712, and it will be the Year of the Goat (or Sheep, or Ram). The Goat can be appealing, altruistic, creative, empathetic, intuitive, generous, artful, gentle, romantic, sensitive, compliant, and candid but also self-pitying, pessimistic, lazy, indecisive, contentious, capricious, irresponsible, tardy, or careless. Please know that not all traits are equally present, there are many other factors involved in getting a complete picture.



Interested to learn more about Chinese culture, legends, history, practices? Join us on an unforgettable tour visiting the most fascinating places in China: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, and Shanghai. Enjoy 10% off if you book before February 28, 2015.


To all our friends – Happy New Year: 新年好.

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