Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Many different cultures have that one 'special' festival where everyone comes together and just spend time with each other for the sake of it. For us, (Chinese Culture) this special festival is celebrate early in the start of the year. It is considered very important that we celebrate this event known as 'Chinese New Year,' because of its long history and the meaning behind it all.

As you may know already, Chinese New Year is an important festival often associated with the colour red, fireworks and delicious Chinese food. These are just a few of the many traditions when it comes to Chinese New Year.

The festival Chinese New Year comes from a story/legend: It is said a long time ago, there was a creature living in the mountains called 'Nian'. Every year, on the first day of the year (lunar calendar) he would come to the village and eat all the grains, livestock and any unfortunate children who seemed to be in sight. Then, one particular year, an old man came to the village and told them not to fear 'Nian'. He asked all of the people to hang up beautiful red banners and light festive fireworks. To many villagers' surprise, 'Nian' didn't come that night. The old man turned out to be a god and he told the village that the creature feared the colour red and loud noises. The villagers then repeated this every year, resulting in its tradition.

Most children absolutely love Chinese New Year for one special reason - The red packets (红包), known as lai see. These are a traditional 'gifting' formality, where married couples give red paper packets containing money to unmarried people, mainly children (traditionally). For children, receiving red packets means receiving basic luck, but for older unmarried people, they take this as luck to find love.

Everyone loves food. Especially on Chinese New Year, as a big feast takes place within the family. Foods such as rice, fish, dumplings, rice cakes (年糕), however this varies depending on the location of where the event is celebrated (the hometown traditions) or the family traditions.

Chinese New Year varies for different people with different traditions. However, Chinese New Year is all based around these things. Only slight variations occur in different traditions. But everyone spends their time with their family during Chinese New Year. I hope you've had a great holiday, and have appreciated the Chinese culture.

By Helen Wong and Mabel Ng