福壽雙全 Fúshòushuāngquán – “May your happiness and longevity be complete”
Google doodle for Chinese New Year
Greetings: 2014 Chinese New Year-the Year of the Horse. Celebrate happiness, longevity, success, family and friends. The celebration lasts 15 days, each day symbolized with food, gift exchange, and cultural festivals.
Recent adaptations of the Chinese New Year -Nian- include the addition of the name “Spring Festival” as a modernized blend of the Gregorian calendar and ancient Chinese traditions. The 15th day -last day – is commemorated with the Lantern Festival, a colorful culmination of celebration.
The Reunion Dinner
The biggest event of any Chinese New Year’s Eve is the Reunion Dinner,named as “Nian Ye Fan”. Fish is customary for this meal and it is customary to make dumplings (jiaozi, 餃子, jiǎozi) after dinner to eat around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape resembles a Chinese sycee. After dinner, families go to local temples hours before the new year begins to pray for a prosperous new year by lighting the first incense of the year and return home to prepare for the new morning in a ritual called “opening the door of fortune” (kāicáimén, 開財門) that initiates the first day of the new year.
The First Day
The first day of Chinese New Year is a time to honor one’s elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
The Lantern Festival
The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuanxiao Festival/Yuánxiāojié (元宵節) or the Lantern Festival. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.
Red is the predominant color used in New Year celebrations. Red is the emblem of joy, and this color also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. For fifteen days, red dominates the color palate since red is universally power. The Chinese especially honor red with the power to ward off evil spirits and bad fortune. Often red envelopes of money are given as wishes for prosperity and engaged energy.
Wear red, celebrate with joyous happiness, pray for longevity.
May all of your day be new. Happy Chinese New Year!
(Tell us how you plan to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Feel free to share your joy).