Gong Xi Fa Cai! Chinese New Year for beginners

A quarter of the world’s population celebrates Chinese New Year every year. That’s a lot of people and this year we experienced this for the first time. The year of the pig is behind us and the year of the rat has arrived! What exactly happens during this 15-day festival?

Lunar calendar

Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year. This date depends on the lunar calendar. This lunar calendar is based on the different phases of the moon. Our calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is based on the amount of time it takes for the earth to make a complete rotation around the sun. The lunar calendar assumes that it takes about 29.5 days to complete 12 lunar cycles. The Chinese use the Gregorian for most purposes, but holidays and events are celebrated based on the Chinese lunar calendar.

Ang pao

During Chinese New Year the red envelopes are extremely important, especially for kids. Married adults give this ‘ang pao’ to children, teenagers, and unmarried adults. The envelope is decorated with lucky symbols, wishing the receiver a long, healthy life and lots of money. The amount varies from one euro to €150 per envelope. Some people give an amount that ends with an eight. The word eight sounds like fortune in Chinese. An odd number means loneliness, so you’d rather not see that in your envelope.

Colour red

The color red is very important during the Chinese New Year. According to the myth, the monster Nian hated three things, namely fire, sound and the color red. When the monster was defeated, the color red was seen as lucky for everyone. That’s why everyone wears the color red on this holiday, the decorations are red and so are the popular envelopes!

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year

Closed

This year Chinese New Year, or CNY, fell on Saturday, January 25. Many companies already closed on Friday and for everyone in Malaysia today, Monday 27 January, counts as a public holiday! What strikes us most is that it is very quiet on the streets. No traffic jams, no long queues in the supermarket and closed restaurants. Many families leave the city and go back to their families in China. We are used to the shops being closed at Christmas and New Year. On these days in Kuala Lumpur, everything was open in contrast to CNY.

Good harvest season

The New Year is also called the Spring Festival. This festival marks the end of the cold days and welcomes spring and everything that goes with it. The festival is a ceremonial day to pray to the gods for a good planting and harvesting season. People also pray to their ancestors because they are treated like gods.

Monster Nian

With Chinese New Year a lot of fireworks go up in the air. This is to scare away monsters and misfortune. The myth tells us that there was a monster named Nian who frightened everyone on New Year’s Eve. A brave boy hit him with firecrackers and fireworks and the monster disappeared. The next day survival was celebrated with the shooting of more firecrackers. So now the firecrackers are used during New Year to welcome the New Year and happiness.

Tangerines

In the weeks before the Chinese New Year, not only the shopping malls turn red, but the supermarkets are full of tangerines. Tangerines play an important role during this huge festival. The Chinese word for tangerine is ‘kam’ and this sounds the same as gold. So when you have this fruit in your house during the New Year, it means wealth for the rest of your life. When you are celebrating Chinese New Year with a family in their house, it is common to give tangerines to the head of the family. With this, you wish them happiness, prosperity and wealth.

A lot of traditions and this is not even all! In any case, we are looking forward to seeing what else awaits us.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Chinese New Year for beginners

A quarter of the world’s population celebrates Chinese New Year every year. That’s a lot of people and this year we experienced this for the first time. The year of the pig is behind us and the year of the rat has arrived! What exactly happens during this 15-day festival?

Lunar calendar

Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year. This date depends on the lunar calendar. This lunar calendar is based on the different phases of the moon. Our calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is based on the amount of time it takes for the earth to make a complete rotation around the sun. The lunar calendar assumes that it takes about 29.5 days to complete 12 lunar cycles. The Chinese use the Gregorian for most purposes, but holidays and events are celebrated based on the Chinese lunar calendar.

Chinese New Year

Closed

This year Chinese New Year, or CNY, fell on Saturday, January 25. Many companies already closed on Friday and for everyone in Malaysia today, Monday 27 January, counts as a public holiday! What strikes us most is that it is very quiet on the streets. No traffic jams, no long queues in the supermarket and closed restaurants. Many families leave the city and go back to their families in China. We are used to the shops being closed at Christmas and New Year. On these days in Kuala Lumpur, everything was open in contrast to CNY.

Good harvest season

The New Year is also called the Spring Festival. This festival marks the end of the cold days and welcomes spring and everything that goes with it. The festival is a ceremonial day to pray to the gods for a good planting and harvesting season. People also pray to their ancestors because they are treated like gods.

Monster Nian

With Chinese New Year a lot of fireworks go up in the air. This is to scare away monsters and misfortune. The myth tells us that there was a monster named Nian who frightened everyone on New Year’s Eve. A brave boy hit him with firecrackers and fireworks and the monster disappeared. The next day survival was celebrated with the shooting of more firecrackers. So now the firecrackers are used during New Year to welcome the New Year and happiness.

Ang pao

During Chinese New Year the red envelopes are extremely important, especially for kids. Married adults give this ‘ang pao’ to children, teenagers, and unmarried adults. The envelope is decorated with lucky symbols, wishing the receiver a long, healthy life and lots of money. The amount varies from one euro to €150 per envelope. Some people give an amount that ends with an eight. The word eight sounds like fortune in Chinese. An odd number means loneliness, so you’d rather not see that in your envelope.

Colour red

The color red is very important during the Chinese New Year. According to the myth, the monster Nian hated three things, namely fire, sound and the color red. When the monster was defeated, the color red was seen as lucky for everyone. That’s why everyone wears the color red on this holiday, the decorations are red and so are the popular envelopes!

Tangerines

In the weeks before the Chinese New Year, not only the shopping malls turn red, but the supermarkets are full of tangerines. Tangerines play an important role during this huge festival. The Chinese word for tangerine is ‘kam’ and this sounds the same as gold. So when you have this fruit in your house during the New Year, it means wealth for the rest of your life. When you are celebrating Chinese New Year with a family in their house, it is common to give tangerines to the head of the family. With this, you wish them happiness, prosperity and wealth.

A lot of traditions and this is not even all! In any case, we are looking forward to seeing what else awaits us.

Chinese New Year
2020-02-26T18:17:32+08:00januari 27th, 2020|

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