If you didn’t already know, the Chinese New Year is the most important and longest celebration in the Chinese calendar – and we’re about to move into it in the next week or two. On January 23rd 2012, the Chinese year 4710 begins. It is also known as the Year of the Dragon.
The Chinese organize their months by the lunar calendar, which is a little different than how we reckon our Western calendars. Each month begins on the darkest day and moves with the cycle of the moon. Chinese New Year celebrations typically begin on the first day of the lunar month and run for 15 days – until the moon is brightest.
In China, people take off weeks of work to celebrate the New Year and prepare for its arrival. To say the least, it’s a big deal! There are fireworks, feasts and festivals.
According to legend, on Chinese New Year Buddha requested that all animals meet him but only twelve showed up. So, he named a year after each of them. People born in a particular year have the same qualities of their namesake animal.
Many people believe that good luck is associated with the Chinese New Year, so they plan big events around it, other than the typical celebrations. For example, some households decide to move into their new home on the Chinese New Year. Business owners also tend to move into new locations during this period of time.
Regardless of your culture, the Chinese New Year celebrations are something everyone should experience. Visit your local Chinatown (if you have one) to take in the Chinese New Year parade. Or better yet, travel to China and take part in celebrations there.