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Celebrating the New Year

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Celebrating the New Year

Wendy Zheng, Contributing Writer

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With the Chinese New Year starting on Tuesday Feb. 5, here are some things you need to know before celebrating.

  1. This year in the Lunar calendar

In the traditional lunar calendar, 2019 is the year of pig. The first day starts on Feb. 5, and Feb. 4 will be the New Year’s Eve.

  1. The Chinese zodiac signs

There are twelve animals assigned to each year in a repeating circle. They are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.  And as you see above, we are at the end of this 12-year circle.

  1. Lots of dragon decorations

Dragons have always been the symbol of China and its culture. However, most of the time, Chinese people will choose to decorate their houses and rooms with the animal of the year, in this case the pig. The reason you have seen so many dragons is because it’s the most common decorative element.

  1. A lot of red and gold

Chinese do use lots of red and gold, because the warm colors are considered more proper, more graceful, and more honorable in the traditional culture. And red and gold are two most noble colors that only royals and high rank officials were allowed to wear in the past.

  1. Send the right postcards

If you ever want to send a New Year postcard to your Chinese friends, DON’T write their name in red. As mentioned above, red is considered proper and solemn. So, to show seriousness, it’s also used to write prisoner’s name when the person is going to be executed.   

  1. No Fortune cookies

There is no question that there are many types of foods that are served at New Year’s Eve when the entire family gets together and celebrate. But there are no Fortune cookies, no General Tso’s chicken, nor other Chinese food you are familiar with. The northern Chinese usually have dumplings and noodles, and the southerners often have sweet soup balls wishing for a sweet year.

  1. The Red Pocket

Chinese don’t give money to each other, they are just blessing the children. In the traditional mindset, children are more easily bewitched by evil spirits. And the elders in the family usually would give them red pockets with coins inside, so the evil spirits could be bribed away from the kids.

  1. It’s more than Chinese

Though the festival originated in China, it is also celebrated in East Asia and some Southeast Asian countries. It’s nice to say “Happy Lunar New Year” to them as well.

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Celebrating the New Year