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Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year celebrations usually takes place during the month of February. Families across the world will be celebrating the event, either by taking part in traditional festivities such as Lion Dances and Fire Cracker Displays, or by treating themselves to a meal at their favourite Chinese Restaurant.

Chinese New Year falls on different days each year because the Chinese use a different type of calendar. As apposed to the 365 day Gregorian calendar used in the UK, the Chinese base their calendar on the moon phases which means a lunar year lasts only 354 days. The first six days of the New Year are designated national holiday throughout China so families can celebrate. It's customary in China to eat Dumplings and Fish over the New Year period because these foods are said to bring good luck and prosperity. Many calendars are also decorated with fish for the same reason.

Chinese Celebrations

Over the New Year period people in China wear and decorate things in red colours. This goes back to a Chinese folk law legend of an evil spirit named "Nian". The evil spirit Nian moved from village to village terrorising the population. Some tales say that Nian caused mischief, whereas others tell of Nian destroying buildings and harming people. In order to combat the evil spirit people let off red firecrackers and painted their houses red because the colour red and loud noises are said to have scared Nian. People today acknowledge this legend with firecracker displays and hanging red banners in the street.

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Lion Dance

Also during New Year celebrations it is customary for older family members to give "Red Packets" to children and grandchildren. These packets contain money, and are given as a New Year gift. Sometimes employers will give Red Packets to employees, but this is less common. If you want to give family members Red Packets this Chinese New Year, make sure you give an even amount of money (e.g. £6, £8, 10). Odd amounts of money is what Chinese people give to the deceased as a goodwill offering for the afterlife.

In the UK there won't be many firecracker displays or decorations, so celebrate by having a family meal at a Chinese Restaurant. The Beijing Rendezvous in Orton Wistow is open throughout Chinese New Year, and we will be happy to celebrate with you!

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