“Kung Hei Fat Choy”
Our Chinese New Year facts provide an insight into the richness of the Chinese culture and tradition. The Chinese New Year is enriched with age old traditions and beliefs. The New Year, also known as the Spring festival or the lunar new year, is the most celebrated occasion in mainland China.
The Chinese spend this holiday season to reflect on the essence of ancient customs. People in China believe that as they enter a new year, past misfortunes are disregarded. Paying off debts and renovating homes are common activities deemed as good fortune, bringing forth the essence of new life and new hopes. Celebrators wear traditional Chinese clothing such as colourful silks to represent joy and good fortune. Red is considered lucky. Therefore, red lanterns dominate the night sky and streets to mark this auspicious time. Obviously, fireworks play a big role in celebrating the new year.
Fireworks are used to help celebrate Chinese New Year but they also have another important purpose. They have traditionally been used to drive off evil spirits and are set off at 12:00PM on New Year’s Eve.
Traditionally dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, if you have ever dined at a Chinese restaurant you may discover that these foods symbolise wealth and good fortune. Chinese consider eating food together during the New Year will bring prosperity and good fortune!
The Chinese Zodiac
There is no fixed date for The Chinese New Year as it is celebrated in accordance with the lunar calendar. The Lunar calendar is based on the time the moon takes to go around the Earth. The origin of the Chinese New Year Calendar dates back from 2600 BC, legend has it that the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. Another myth says that Emperor Huangdi, the first Chinese emperor, in 2637 B.C. invented the Chinese lunar calendar.
A complete cycle, according to the Chinese calendar, takes sixty years and consists of five cycles of twelve years each. Over time, zodiacs became integrated into everyday life, the different meanings and characteristics got assigned to each animal. Consecutively this gave rise to various compatibilities and incompatibilities between each zodiac, thus playing a major role in many facets of Chinese life including marriage, career decisions and financial decisions. The rise of the Chinese fortune teller also coincided with other practices such as “Kau cim” (Fortune Sticks).
One of the most significant features of Chinese New Year Calendar is that it names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend says that Lord Buddha had called for all the animals to come to him before he departed from the earth. But only those twelve animals came to offer him farewell. According to the popular Chinese myth the animal ruling the year in which a person is born greatly influences behaviour and qualities.
The Chinese New Year celebrations can last up to fifteen days. Throughout these days, the Chinese wish each other by saying “Kung Hei Fat Choy” which means having a great fortune. Married couples’ gift red envelopes with lucky money to their children or relatives instead of giving presents.
The Chinese New Year in London
The first Chinese to visit Britain was Michael Alphonsius Shen Fu-tsung in 1687. Can you believe that? Today over 120,000 Chinese people live in London.
The first Chinese New Year celebrations were held in Gerrard Street.
The Chinese New Year parade begin with colourful parade floats and dragon dances around Gerrard Street and into China Town, Soho. Chinese love excitement and ooze joyfulness, their New Year gives them an opportunity to do so for fifteen consecutive days! Many people from different cultures, including tourist crowd to see the performance of lion dance and dragon dance with exploding sound of firecrackers and drums.
So, there you have it. We hope everyone enjoys the Chinese New Year celebrations. You can check out our coloured contact lenses
to achieve the look in accordance with the zodiac animal and its lucky colours.
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