The new moon that rises brings the Chinese people their new year! (2007 is the year of the pig for the Chinese) A new year for the Chinese is much more than just that. From time immemorial, people of
As their new year starts with the appearance of the new moon it is also called the lunar new- year, spring festival is another pet-name they have attributed to this period which is for them the mother of all celebrations. It all begins from Chu-xu the new- year eve (chu = change and xi = eve) a new moon and ends on the 15th day with the “lantern festival” (on a full-moon). Between January 21 and February 20 as per the Gregorian calendar, these are all calculated by the “luni-solar” calendar of the Chinese order which is also followed by the surrounding countries with “Han culture” like
Red color is the associated with these festivals (the myth behind is that once there was a monster by name “Nian” which lived on the mountains and ate human beings for a living! The use of red color and cracking of crackers all associated with the festivals are supposed to scare away the Nian the villain). The festivals last for about 15 days.
Houses are thoroughly cleaned (this is supposed for the removal of bad-luck from the home) and all the materials used for cleaning –like brooms, brushes etc are discarded along with the trash that is left away. There after the houses are not cleaned even if it is cleaned the trash is not thrown away but kept in a corner of the house, this heap not trampled upon by any means.
All the relatives assemble for the dinner and lavish servings of chicken and fish is the specialty of the “chu-xi”. It is the main event of the whole celebrations that pulls the Chinese from all around the globe to their native places because a collective feast with all kiths and kins is something which arouses a peculiar nostalgia and a pleasure that cannot be counted in terms of cash.
First day is intended to welcome the deities from heaven to earth. (These rituals have striking similarities with those in
Second day is dedicated to the daughters they are free to visit their parents and stay with them – a rare opportunity for them to enjoy the affection of their parents. How a Chinese daughter worth her salt can ignore such a golden opportunity.
The third and fourth days are considered inauspicious for home visits and it is left for family members to stay at home and enjoy.
Fifth day is dedicated for eating fish and puddings of various hues known by name “jiaozi” (puddings with fruits)!
Sixth day is vacant (programs decided by the joint action committee of the home!
The seventh is the common man’s birthday (belongs to each and every Chinese and every one grows one year older with that day, get together is the main event left for the day)
Eighth vacant and free for all!
Ninth day is for prayers to Jade the emperor of heaven and offering him sugarcane and burning of incense sticks as a mark of love.
10th to 14th days are for mere celebrations, visiting relatives exchanging gifts and pleasantries etc.
The last (15th) Lantern festival-day is the end of celebrations exchanging of red packets to younger ones is a custom there may be some money in these packets the amount not specified and depends upon the fancy of the senior.
During these festival seasons wishing happy new- year (Jixianghua = wishing, Pinyin = happy new-year) loudly is a Chinese custom.
Like Indians the Chinese also have a lot of customs and superstitions, for example they believe that one will be compelled to one thing he has inadvertently did on the new- year day. Hence they don’t beat their children for the mischief they do on new- year day
They don’t take the trash swept from house through the front door. They clear all debts before the new-year day and don’t lend money on that day! (because they may be forced to do the same all through the year)