Happy New Year! Again! 新年快樂! 恭賀新禧!

In Culture, Education, Entertainment on January 22, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , ,

新年快樂!  恭賀新禧!
The Year of the Dragon is upon us!  Let’s take a break from numbers and taxes – at least for a little while – and welcome the Dragon. Although New Year’s Eve is January 22nd, Chinese New Year is actually celebrated for fifteen days! The first three days are the most important and then a huge party on the fifteenth day ends the New Year celebration with a bang.
The house needs a thorough cleaning before the party starts – it’s bad luck to clean during the first three days of the New Year. Always sweeps inward in order to sweep good fortune inside. The house décor will feature a lot of the color red, and small red envelopes filled with $1 or $2 should be scattered around. It’s bad luck to enter a new year with empty rice containers, so don’t forget to head to the market for a refill. While you’re there, pick up some fresh offerings, such as oranges, apples, orchids, etc. for the various Gods, especially the Buddha. On the way back, make sure you wash your car and fill up the gas tank.  
Similar to Thanksgiving, family members travel home to celebrate Chinese New Year’s Eve together. This holiday is especially important because it is the only time off for most factory workers in China. The traditional dinner includes all food groups, but the principal entrée is fish. Warning: never finish the fish dish, even if it’s delicious! You must have some leftover (savings) to carry food and fortune from the old year into the new year. Indeed, the pronunciation of the word “fish” in Chinese is actually the same as that of “leftover” or “save more.” 
Gambling usually starts after New Year’s Eve dinner, with the most popular activities being Mahjong and dice games. Next, remember those red envelopes that were left lying around the house? Well, more of these are given out from married adults to younger children and are filled with crisp, new bills. If you are single, no matter how old you are, you get a pass on handing them out; most likely you will still receive the red envelopes from your parents. By the way, the money from these red envelopes generally exchanges from hand to hand via gambling winnings and losses throughout the night…  Finally, the New Year’s Eve evening is topped off with fireworks at midnight.
With New Year’s Day comes freshly-prepared food. Although the dinner from the night before might look perfect for a rumbling tummy, it’s bad luck to eat the New Year’s Eve leftovers. Throughout the day, more red envelopes and food are shared with extended relatives and friends. You never know who will come visit with their children, so always have backup red envelopes. This goes on for three days…seriously, three days! 
Chinese New Year celebrations end on February 6, 2012 and all of the family members gather together one more time before the new year officially gets underway. But what does the Year of the Dragon actually mean for you? The Dragon historically brings water, so keep your umbrella handy and your galoshes ready throughout 2012. Legend also has it that the Dragon is coated with a mysterious color that makes it unpredictable and untouchable, and thus, something unexpected could happen in 2012. Finally, the Year of the Dragon will be marked by “excitement, exhilaration, and intensity,” so put on some red clothes for good luck and get ready for a great year!
Happy New Year!
新年快樂!  恭賀新禧!
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions


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