Welcome to the Year of the Rat: Lunar New Year 2020
Are you ready for a 15 day celebration? January 25th kicks off the 2020 Chinese New Year Celebration! This 2 week long holiday is traditionally celebrated in the Southeast Asia but continues to spread throughout the whole world.
The More You Know
The Chinese New Year goes by many names and is also known as The Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival. This festival is the cause of the largest human migration in the world as people travel home to spend this holiday with their family.
Each year is marked by a Chinese Zodiac Animal. 2020 will be known as the year of the Rat and there are 11 other animals including the dog, the ox, and the pig. The year in which you were born dictates your animal zodiac, but did you know that your zodiac year is bad luck? For example, if you were born in 1984, your Chinese zodiac would be the year of the rat so this year you would have a year of bad luck.
How do you celebrate?
Celebrating the Lunar New Year is separated into 3 celebrations. First comes Little Year celebrated January 17th -24th. Little Year is a time for preparations for the New Year celebration. Next is the main celebration called Spring Festival. The spring festival is the official start of the Lunar New Year Celebration and begins January 25th through February 4th. Finally, the Lantern Festival ends the 2 week celebration from February 5th through the 8th.
New Year’s Day is kicked off with firecrackers which are meant to be greetings and blessings between neighbors and friends. Food and drinks are also included in the celebrations. Most families host a feast with everyone’s favorite foods and Tu Su Wine. The traditions involving Tu Su Wine is in the order that it is drank. Unlike most other wines, Tu Su Wine is sipped by the children prior to the family elders.
Each day of the Spring Festival is celebrated in a different manor, read more about each day’s themes and celebrations here.
There are many taboos and superstitions surround the Chinese New Year. These rules and restrictions are thought to help you stay in good fortune and good luck for the coming year.
Here are some of the most important rules:
- Do not say negative words
- Do not break glass
- Do not sweep or clean
- Do not use sharp objects
- Avoid fighting and crying
- Do not demand debt repayments
Red Pockets & ‘Lucky Money
They goes by many names, red pockets, red packets, red envelopes – all representing the gift of New Year’s Money. The legend says that parents would give their children these red envelopes full of money for them to use to bribe a monster names Nian to stop him from destroying their village.
Today, money is given for luck and to promote success in the New Year. Usually, the red envelops are given by close family members, but it is also a polite gesture to give an envelope to friends, co-workers, and even your bosses children! In less traditional families, children will often times save their earnings from the year before to present their parents with a red pocket of their own.