The Chinese New Year 2020 or the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) is celebrated on Saturday, January 25th , according to the traditional Chinese Calendar.
In the Chinese astrology, each year is represented by an animal. 2020 is the year of the Metal Rat, which is predicted to be a lucky year.
The rat has also been celebrated in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008.
The Rat has the first position in the zodiac. The Rat is a representation of diligence, kindness, and generosity.
The Chinese New Year, one of the world’s most important and popular festivals is the cause of the largest annual mass human migration in the world.
This holiday is celebrated in countries like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Mauritius, but also Europe, Australia, New Zeeland, America, Canada, especially in the areas with a big Chinese community.
Lunar New Year 2020 Calendar
The chinese calendar is not like the Gregorian calendar, and the first day of Chinese New Year starts with the new moon, that appears between January 21 and February 20(on january 25 2020), and the last day known as Lantern festival (February 8 2020), celebrated with night lantern displays, ends 15 days later on the full moon.
The most important religious ritual, was the sacrifice to the ancestors. Loved ones, dearly departed are remembered with greatest respect, as they are responsible for the present and future good family fortune.
The family celebration on New Year’s Eve is known as the “surrounding the stove” or weilu. This comprises of a dinner arranged for the spirits of the ancestors, together with the living and represents past and present, and one strong community.
The most important New Year custom is for married couples to give lucky money called ‘lay-see’ to unmarried relatives, especially children.
‘Lay-see’ is a red packet containing ‘lucky money’ which people believe will bring luck to both the receiver and giver.
Older family members must also give lucky money to all those who are younger in the family, including those who are married. Kung hei fat choy!
Spring Festival: The 15 days of Lunar New Year
The preparations for the holidays start one month prior when people buy presents, materials for decorations, food and clothes.
Also then starts the house cleaning to chase away bad luck, and the doors and windows are being repainted, usually in red.
These are then decorated with red paper strips (Chun Lian) with different wishes of happiness, prosperity and long life written on them.
What are the lucky colors for 2020?
Although this holiday is traditionally dominated by red, during the Metal Rat Year, the colors that will bring good fortune and wellness are pink and orange.
Before New Year, the Chinese decorate their living rooms with flower vases, plates full of oranges and tangerines (symbolizing great happiness) and a tray with sweets with eight kinds of dry fruit.
On the walls and at the doors, they place red paper strips (Chun Lian), on which they write greetings as: “May you enjoy a perpetual health” or “The Star of Happiness, the Star of Health and the Star of Longevity may shine upon you”.
Lucky Foods to Eat During Spring Festival 2020
Food plays an important role during the Spring Festival. Many kinds of food cooked for this occasion are being served because they are considered symbols of luck.
For example, the fish (yu) represents “to have enough to also give others”, garlic (chiu-tsai) means “what lasts”, turnips (tsai tou) refer to “good premonitions”, while fish balls (yu-wan) and meatballs (jou-wan) represent “reunion”.
Oranges and pomegranates: One of the most known symbols of the Chinese New Year is the orange and it represents luck.
Pomegranate, on the other hand, is treasured for its many seeds, which symbolize fertility, but also for its red color that has the power to keep evil spirits at bay.
The Chinese also serve a whole fish that symbolizes abundance, and a chicken for gaining prosperity. The chicken must have the head, tail and feet still attached, connoting wholeness, perfection. The noodles must not be cut, because they symbolize long life.
The huge quantity of food served during this period is meant to symbolize the abundance and wealth of the house where they are being served. The most appreciated though is the food vividly colored in red, orange, green and gold.
Jai Traditional Vegetarian Dish
Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day, Jai consists of root or fibrous vegetables. The ingredients consist of foods that represent good fortune.
Jai will include lotus seed, representing the hope for many male offspring, ginko nut, representing silver, black moss seaweed, the hope for wealth, dried bean curd, wealth and happiness and bamboo shoots for good wishes for everything.
White is an unlucky colour for New Year, therefore any white foods such as tofu is avoided.
Drinks : What to drink during the Chinese New Year
All debts must be paid by New Year’s Day. Nothing should be lent on this day – anyone who does so will be lending all the year.
One should not use bad language, unlucky words, negative terms and the word ‘four’, which sounds like the word for death.
Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo.
References to the past year are avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.
It is believed that if you shouldn’t cry as to cry on New Year’s day means the coming year will be sorrowful. For this reason children are not told off on this day.
On New Year’s Day, you are not supposed to wash your hair or clean the house, for fear that good luck will be washed and swept away.
Shooting off firecrackers is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming the New Year.
On the stroke of midnight on Chinese New Year’s Eve, every door in the house, including windows, must be opened to allow the old year to go out.
The Dragon Dance is an ancient traditional Chinese dance, usually performed during big holidays, in hope of attracting peace and prosperity for the whole nation.
As millions of Chinese people stated to emigrate abroad, the tradition of this dance has become common in many countries. In time, the Dragon Dance became a symbol of the Chinese culture.
People wish each other good luck, happiness and abundance for chinese the new year 2020.’
Gong xi fa cai’ translates ‘Have a prosperous new year !’