Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China. In 2021, Chinese New Year will begin on February 12. Tied to the Chinese lunar calendar. The holiday was traditionally a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring the family together for feasting. With the popular adoption of the Western calendar in 1912, the Chinese joined in celebrating January 1 as New Year’s Day. China, however, continues to celebrate Chinese New Year with the traditional greeting, “Kung Hei fat Choi.”
Lunar New Year
The ancient Chinese lunar calendar, on which the Chinese New Year is based, functioned as a religious, dynastic, and social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records indicate that the calendar existed as early as the 14th century B.C. when the Shang Dynasty was in power.
The calendar’s structure wasn’t static: It was reset according to which emperor held power and varied from one region to another.
The Chinese calendar was a complex timepiece. Its parameters were set according to the lunar phases as well as the solar solstices and equinoxes. Yin and yang, the opposing but complementary principles that make up a harmonious world, also ruled the calendar.
Chinese New Year typically begins with the new moon that occurs between the end of January and the end of February, and it lasts about 15 days until the full moon arrives with the Festival of Lanterns.
Chinese New Year Animals
The Chinese calendar also included the Chinese zodiac, the cycle of twelve stations or “signs” along the apparent path of the sun through the cosmos.
Each new year was marked by the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiac animals. They are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
Chinese New Year Traditions
The traditional Chinese New Year was the most important festival on the calendar. The entire attention of the household was fixed on the celebration. During this time, business life came nearly to a stop. Home and family were the principal focuses.
In preparation for the holiday. Houses were thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “hui qi,” or inauspicious breaths, which might have collected during the old year. Cleaning was also meant to appease the gods who would be coming down from heaven to make inspections.
Ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons were offered to gods and ancestors. People posted scrolls printed with lucky messages on household gates and set off firecrackers to frighten evil spirits. Elders gave out money to children.
In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period were meant to bring good luck to the household and long life to the family. Particularly to the parents.
Kawaii Stop has many suppliers in China and we would like to let you know that there may be some delay when it comes to ordering processing or shipping. This is because we believe that everyone should enjoy the tradition of their culture. The shipping times may be increased by a couple of days due to the celebration! Do not worry though! Our team is fully staffed and we are ready to answer any of the questions that you may have. The impact on the festival is minimal. We did want to let you know of some potential impacts that may arise.