It's the year of the snake!

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year, a festive event celebrated by people all around the world (the image above was taken in Yokohama, Japan). As you may well know, the Chinese New Year is represented by one of 12 different animals which cycle annually, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, the pig, the rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon and the snake.

To find out a little more about the celebrations, we asked one of our dedicated translators based in Beijing, Kathie Wang, to tell us what it’s all about. Over to Kathie…

“The traditional Spring Festival [Chinese New Year]  is the most important Chinese festival of the whole year, a time for all family members to get together, just like for Christmas in the West.

Generally speaking, the Spring Festival starts in the early days of the 12th lunar month and will last until around the middle of the 1st lunar month of the next year. The most important days for us are Spring Festival Eve and the following three days.

Before the New Year arrives, people completely clean  their homes, inside and out, as well as their clothes, bedclothes and all their utensils. Once everything is  in order, people begin to decorate their homes  to create  a joyful festive atmosphere. All the doors will be covered in Spring Festival couplets. The content varies from house owners’ wishes for a bright future, to good luck for the New Year.

People attached great importance to Spring Festival Eve, with all family members eating dinner together. The meal is more luxurious than usual. Dishes such as chicken, fish and bean curd are a festive favorite.  After dinner, the whole family will sit together, chatting and watching TV. In recent years, the Spring Festival party broadcast on China Central Television Station is essential viewing entertainment.

Upon waking up on New Year, everybody dresses for the occasion. Firstly, greetings are extended to parents, then children will get money, wrapped up in red paper, as a New Year gift. People in northern China will eat dumplings for breakfast, or Jiaozi in Chinese( Jiaozi in sound, means “bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new”).

The first three days after the Spring Festival are a good time for relatives, friends and colleagues to exchange greetings, gifts and catch up with one another.”

Thanks Kathie 🙂

Are you wondering which Animal represents you? Take a look at this Chinese zodiac calendar.

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