If you’re wondering when is Chinese new year 2016, then you’re in right place. This post will provide you Chinese new year dates and how the Chinese prepare and enjoy their the most important festival in a year.

THE DATE OF CHINESE NEW YEAR

Traditionally, Chinese New Year was the most important festival for more than one quarter of the world’s population in a year. It period occurred between the middle of the 12th month and around the middle of the 1st month basing on counting the lunar month.

THE LUNAR CALENDAR

Chinese Lunar New Year or also called Spring Festival appeared for the first time in the 20th century based on the ancient Chinese calendar, which existed at least as early as 14th century B.C. This calendar’s structure depended on power and varied decided by the region’s emperor in Chinese and overseas Chinese communities. Hence, the days in different countries might be calculated differently not as Gregorian calendar. Nevertheless, people in these regions were familiar with using this calendar to select the luckiest days for weddings, funerals, moving or beginning a business. Besides, the lunisolar calendar was also a repeating circle of 12 years, with each year was represented by an animal called zodiac animals. This 12-year animal was Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig arranged from first to last.

Lunar Calendar
Lunar Calendar

There were two rules to calculate the modern Chinese calendar:

Rule 1: Calculations following the meridian 120* East.

In 1929 China decided to use a standard time zone based on 120* East instead of 116*25′ as before.

Rule 2: The first day of the month is the day the New Moon appears.

According to the Gregorian calendar, excepting for February, all months had the same number of days in different years. On the contrary, the lunar calendar did not unit the number of days in every year. For example, people supposed a month having 29.5 days. It meant a month had 30 days if a New Month started at 13h on May 1st and ended at 1h May 31st and vice versa, it would have 29 days if it lasted from 1h May 1st to 13h May 30th .

WHEN IS CHINESE NEW YEAR 2016?

This year is a Monkey Year, which is similar to 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 and nearest 2004, will start from Frebruary 8th, 2016 and last to January 27th , 2017. According to the name of color animals in China, which is called Five Elements including Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth recuring every 60 years, 2016 is Red Fire Monkey Year.

Year of the Monkey
Year of the Monkey

Chinese New Year 2016 is on Monday 8th February. It is usual to have 7 consecutive days off for Chinese New Year. Offically only the first 3 days are major but it is always added to give enough a week of holiday. Moreover, this year has more 2 days off because it is Saturday on February 6th and Sunday on February 14th.

Lunar New Year can be considered to be the most important festival which is the occasion for people come back home and gather with their family. Its spirit spreads a month or even earlier before the great day comes.

PREPARATION

There are many thing to prepare. People go to supermarket or market in order to buy new clothes, house decorative stuff or foods which are specific for this festival such as: meats (usually pork and chicken,…), jam and of course two big round watermelon to lay in the living can be missed.

Houses are spruced up, dirty things are washed, old things are replaced by the new ones. New things symbolize sufficiency of needs to use and wear in the New Year. People decorate their house with red parallel sentences, red flower-pattern paper, and colorful flower (such as plum blossom symbolizes luckiness, kumquat and narcissus symbolizes properity, sunflower means to have a good year,…) with the hope that a peaceful and happy year will come.

NEW YEAR EVE DINNER

There is a reunion dinner called “Nian Ye Fan” that is held New Year Eve ( the evening on the last day of the last year). It is time that although people are wherever they will come back to gather with their family. The New Year’s Eve dinner is very large and sumptuous, includes dishes such as pork, duck or chicken and sweet food after meal. Usually, there is also a hot pot in the meal which has a great significance that hot pot’s many ingredients mixed up together symbolize the reunion of the member in family.

New year eve dinner
New year eve dinner

At the very last moment before New Year arrives, in the old time, people together burn firecracker with the belief that its sound will drive away evil spirits and its color symbolize a colorful lucky and happy next year. However, because of many injuries caused by firecracker, government and authority eventually enacted laws completely banning the use of firecrackers privately, primarily because of safety issues. Of course, this traditional activity can’t be dismissed, so that now, government itself erupts firework in order to everybody can contemplate as well as ensure their safety. With the more and more development of technology, nowadays firework completely satisfy people’s expectation.

ACTIVITIES ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW YEAR

The first day of the New Year clearly is the most exciting and joyful day. Traditionally, the youngers, children greet the elder health, happy and prosperousness. In return, they will be gave red packets with money inside that reflect good luck and honorability as the greeting. Clothes which are wore on this day are also red. When is Chinese New Year, red is believed that can scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to hope that they will have a new beginning in the new year. Red is a color of good luck.

Red packets with money inside
Red packets with money inside

In each house, in order to serve guest who come to visit and greet, people have a tray with eight or six pot contain food with special meaning. Candy symbolize a sweet start of New Year, red melon seed symbolize joy and happy, dried-lychee mean family close-knit,…

Dragon Chinese New Year
Dragon Chinese New Year

Dragon and lion dance are obviously integral in Chinese New Year. People believe that the loud beats of drum and the cymbal together with the angry face of the dragon or lion and its aggressive dancing can dismiss bad things and evil spirits. Lion dance are also commonly used to open of businesses in many country such as Hong Kong, Macau, Viet Nam,… with belief that it will bring luckiness.

Happy new year to Lifestyle9’s Chinese Reader!

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