Did you know that 20% of the world celebrate the Chinese New Year and the Chinese people regard it as their most important holiday? That’s a fifth of the world’s population who enjoy this amazing time of the year. Let’s delve deeper and find out how you can celebrate the 2020 Chinese New Year in style after winning any of our incredible international lotteries.
The Chinese New Year this year falls on Saturday the 25th of January and goes on to the 8th of February (15 days in total) and according to the Chinese zodiac.
The Year of the Metal Rat comes right after the Year of the Earth Pig (2019) and before the Year of the Metal Ox (2021)! The years of the Rat are: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, and 2032.
2020 will be a year of new beginnings! New opportunities for finding true love and earning more money. So lottery players had better brace themselves as it looks as though 2020 is going to be extremely successful!
Listed below are twenty-one facts you may or may not know about the Chinese New Year:
The Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival
The Chinese have another name for it and call it ‘Chunjie’ or the Spring Festival. It’s a very cold time of the year but the idea is to welcome spring and celebrate the end of winter. It’s all about fresh starts and new beginnings to the year celebrated with decorative lanterns with ‘Spring Festival’ on them.
It is also celebrated in countries such as Vietnam and North and South Korea where it is also referred to as the Lunar New Year as the Spring Festival is according to the lunar calendar.
There is not a set date for the Chinese New Year to occur
There are variations of the Spring Festival according to the Lunar Calendar saying it is on the 1st of January and goes on until the 15th with the full moon in all its glory. It doesn’t align with the Gregorian solar calendar and if you try to calculate it, the date fluctuates all over the place.
Chinese New Year varies from the 21st of January to the 20th of February. Back in 2019 for example, it happened on the 5th of February. They do use the Gregorian calendar or modern Chinese calendars but lunar holidays are also included.
Even though the Chinese have officially moved to the Gregorian calendar just like all the other countries around the world, the lunar calendar remains very important in China as it is used for all traditional holidays plus special days like the winter solstice which is celebrated there. Many Chinese still work out their ages and birthdays according to the lunar calendar as well.
It is also a prayer day for the gods
The Chunjie or Spring Festival used to be a day of ceremony for the Chinese where they prayed to the gods for a good harvest season as the harvest was very important to them. Their ancestors were also treated as gods and were prayed to as well. The gods were always offered the best food available.
They fought off monsters
The legends and myths were always very interesting such as one legend where ‘Nian’ a monster would appear around New Year’s Eve and hide in the people’s houses. There was one time where a brave boy fought him off using fireworks which started off the tradition where everyone celebrated their survival by letting off many more fireworks. This tradition remains an important part of the Spring Festival celebrations.
The most fireworks in the entire world are set off on that night
Just like with the monster Nian, the fireworks are said to scare off all monsters and any bad luck. Everyone stays up until after midnight on New Year’s Eve when they let off lots of fireworks to celebrate the New Year and do it again the next morning to welcome the New Year. It’s a very noisy time as the fireworks tend to carry on all through the night.
It’s traditional for families to burn printed gold bars and fake money in memory of their dead family members. It’s very similar to Mexico’s ‘Day Of The Dead’ or the Korean ‘Chuseok’ holiday traditions where it is believed their offerings will bring good luck and fortune to their ancestors in the next life.
Fireworks in China are becoming illegal in certain areas
Many Chinese cities have banned fireworks due to air pollution and health and safety concerns. Over 500 cities have restricted the use of fireworks all over China. The rules are flouted by many who ignore the law and will set them off anyway. Fireworks were banned in Beijing for over thirteen years but they lifted the ban in 2006 due to public anger. If you happen to be in China at this time of year, you will see and hear fireworks exploding for at least three nights and more. It can actually carry on for weeks.
Spring Festival is the longest Chinese holiday
Spring Festival is usually fifteen days long but as the celebrations begin on New Year’s Eve, it’s actually sixteen days in total but if you include the lunar ‘Laba Festival’ that starts in December, that ups it to around forty days long.
The Chinese people will spend at least twice as much as the Americans do during Thanksgiving on eating out and shopping during this period. As a rule, traditionally, time must be spent with your family and only after the fifth day can you go out. Most shops are closed over this holiday time.
During the previous month, families will buy New Year’s products or ‘nian huo’. They stock up with all sorts of supplies such as gifts, new clothes, snacks, cooking supplies and more.
It causes the largest human migration in the world
A family reunion is one of the most important parts of the Chinese New Year where everyone tries to get home for the New Year’s Eve dinner.
Since China modernised, the youngsters tend to live and work in the cities while their elderly parents live in rural villages. This creates a mass migration called ‘chunyun’ or spring migration. On a normal work day, the subways and railways are very busy but during chunyun, it goes crazy with people being completely squashed inside the trains and buses and other forms of transport.
The soonest you can buy a train ticket is sixty days before which leads to a massive rush of people fighting to get their tickets. In 2015, about a thousand tickets a second were sold!
Single people hire a fake girlfriend or boyfriend to take home
In China, having children and carrying on the family name is a very important part of Chinese culture. There are a few desperate single people who end up hiring a fake girlfriend or boyfriend to take home with them to placate their nosy relatives.
There are some who can’t get home or won’t go home that rent themselves out and end up having to answer questions about their job, salary or when they plan to have children which can be awkward for some of them.
No sweeping, no throwing out garbage and no showering allowed
You’re not supposed to take a shower on New Year’s Day and taking out the rubbish or sweeping the house isn’t allowed until after the 5th as they don’t want you to wash away any good luck.
The day before the Spring Festival begins is when all the cleaning is done in order to sweep away any bad luck to make room for the good luck. Hair cutting is completely taboo over the whole of the Chinese New Year and hair salons are all closed.
Other taboos over the Chinese New Year are cutting hair before the 2nd of February, breaking anything, using unlucky negative words, swearing or arguing, and using scissors, knives or any other sharp objects
Kids get lucky money given in red envelopes
Children receive presents over the festive season in many other cultures and the same is true in China during the Spring Festival. They each receive gifts and on top of that, they also receive a red envelope containing money.
The envelopes can contain as much as $150 depending how financially well of the family may be. They are also called red pockets or packets and the money they contain is supposed to be a conduit to help to transfer fortune from the family elders to the children. At work, the boss can give these red envelopes to their employees or co-workers or even friends.
Nowadays with new technology, they have digital red packets which are all the rage as people will send them to group chats where they can watch the others clambering for the money. They call this bit of fun ‘qiang hongbao’ which means ‘snatching red packets’.
Dumplings are eaten every day for every meal
Dumplings are a traditional food that is supposed to be eaten every day over the New Year holiday in China. Delicious as they are, it can get boring to eat every day so this rule is not always adhered to although some would often rather have the dumplings for breakfast. This tradition of eating dumplings tends to happen mainly in the north of the country and those living in the south are more inclined to eat egg spring rolls and little balls of rice in ‘tangyuan’ (a type of Chinese soup).
Desserts during the Chinese New Year have special meanings
Symbolic foods are part and parcel of many cultures like the Yule Log Cake is at Christmas time in other parts of the world. In China, there are countless New Year desserts that have many special meanings and most are actually puns in the name. ‘Nian Gao’ for example is a type of rice cake that is a symbol for success each year and ‘Fa Gao’ is a cross between a muffin and a sponge cake which is dyed in festive colours. The word ‘Fa’ is like ‘Fa Cai’ which means ‘to get rich’ and of course they all want that to happen.
There is a specific wine made for the Spring Festival
Drinking alcohol in China is very popular and it is said “there are no manners or proper etiquette” without drinking wine which of course suggests people should drink plenty of wine at every festival, ceremony or dinner. Also included are during engagement dinners, birthdays, weddings and most importantly, during the Spring Festival.
As wine is so popular, they have many drinking games they play. When having a meal with an older person than you during a New Year’s dinner, strict rules must be adhered to when toasting others. There is a specific order of toasts to follow, how the wine glass is held, seating arrangements and many more.
During the Chinese New Year everything is coloured red
All families decorate their houses in red and the reason is exactly the same as the tale of Nian the monster, the colour red will also scare any monsters away just like the fireworks do. Red is regarded as a valuable weapon and used with most New Year decorations.
It is also the favourite colour of the Chinese people which is why they use it during the Chinese New Year celebrations. They hang up red lanterns everywhere and hang up red chilli peppers all over and they stick red paper onto windows and doors. Having new clothing is supposed to be lucky and many people will include red clothes in their Spring Festival wardrobe.
The Chinese zodiac has a different animal for each year
In the west, we have twelve star signs within our horoscopes, one for each month. The same goes for the Chinese Zodiac, they have twelve as well made up by twelve different animals. The difference is each animal is for the whole year instead of a month which covers a twelve year cycle instead of a twelve month one.
The animals consist of a Rat, an Ox, a Tiger, a Rabbit, a Dragon, a Snake, a Horse, a Goat, a Monkey, a Rooster, a Dog, and a Pig. The year 2020 is a year of the Rat which we’ve just entered. A few of the animals such as the Pig, the Dog, the Snake and the Rat aren’t so popular in China but they do have positives that affect any people born on those years.
Your zodiac birth year is regarded as bad luck
A person undergoes a twelve year cycle to reach their Zodiac Year of Birth and it’s known as ‘Běnmìngnián’. As an example, this year (2020) is the year of the Rat and those people who were born in the Year of the Rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008) are now entering their Běnmìngnián in 2020.
Your Běnmìngnián year is the year of your animal of the zodiac and it is said of the twelve year cycle, it is your unluckiest.
There are various explanations for this unlucky part of your cycle. One of them is they believe that your children can be taken by demons. To counter this, there is a mythological creature called ‘Pi Xiu’ that can be worn as a good luck charm. It is also your ‘rebirth’ year. During your Year of Birth, the colour red is your defence weapon and in the same way you decorate your house, red clothing can be worn for fortune and protection. A lot of people will even wear red underwear all year long and others will wear red pants, shirts, jewellery, shoe insoles and many other red items.
You will grow a year older on the Spring Festival
The Chinese have two different ages, your real age and your fake nominal age. Your real age is just that, and you become one year older on your birthday. Your fake nominal age actually increases with the Spring Festival and was the age most Chinese used until quite recently but it is still commonly used these days and often they are interchanged with each other.
Xin nian kuai le means Happy New Year in Chinese
‘Xin nian kuai le’ is the Chinese literal translation meaning Happy New Year. If you’re in Cantonese speaking Hong Kong you’d be more likely to say ‘gong hei fat choy’ and in Mandarin Chinese, you would say ‘gong xi fa cai’ which means congratulations with your fortune.
Most blessings and greetings are about having plenty of children, health and longevity, plentiful harvests and wealth and fortune. Everyone would like good health, food and money but it’s very important to pass down the family name which is why China has such a huge population.
New Year celebrations end with the Lantern Festival
‘Yuanxiao Festival’ or ‘Lantern Festival,’ takes place during the first full moon of the lunar year and is a whole night of partying and freedom. These lanterns come in all shapes and sizes and colours.
In the olden days, girls were not allowed to go outside alone but during the Lantern Festival they are allowed to walk around moon gazing and watching the beautiful lanterns. Since this practice began, it’s now referred to as ‘Valentine’s Day’ by the Chinese.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated by people all over the world
One in every five people in the world is Chinese and that statistic doesn’t even include the many millions of Chinese living abroad or people of Chinese descent. Spring Festival celebrations happen in Sydney, Australia, San Francisco, USA and London, England and all of them claim to have the biggest celebrations of the Spring Festival outside of Asia. We cannot confirm or deny that bit of trivia.
The Chinese New Year celebrations are all about various family, superstitions, money, good and bad luck and monsters etc.
Winning a monster lottery jackpot would be a great start to your New Year and would change your life for the better which is what most people strive for.
We wish you a Happy Chinese New Year that includes wishing you a lot of good luck when you buy a lottery ticket online right here at PlayUKLottery.com!
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