Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is all about good fortune, happiness, good food and family togetherness. It is the longest and the most important holiday in China and is filled with culture and symbolism. The festive occasion is celebrated every 1st day of the Chinese lunar calendar or between January 21st and February 19th on the Gregorian calendar. Chinese families gather together for the most important meal of the year, which they call a “reunion dinner”.
According to legend, it all started when a beast named “Nian” which means “Year” appeared in the village on a New Year’s Eve, which in the Chinese calendar is when the new moon appears.
The monster terrorized the villagers for so many years, until one day a wise man told them of what Nian was scared of. So when Nian came back, the villagers made loud noises, lit a fire and wore something red from head to toe. True enough, the beast was scared and never came back. Since then, the villagers celebrate the new moon, which is the day before the new starting year which they call “Guo-Nian” (passing Nian).
Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world by East and Central Asian countries with red lanterns, couplets, an elaborate dragon dance, colorful fireworks and delicious food like egg rolls which symbolizes wealth, chow mein noodles for long life and shrimp for happiness in the coming year.
Every Chinese New Year is represented by an animal based on Chinese Zodiac Cycle associated with five elements: wood, earth, fire, water and metal. This year, the celebration falls on February 8 and it is the year of the Fire Monkey.