Chinese New Year! Gong xi fa cai (恭喜发财)
Year of the dog
You probably know there are 12 Chinese zodiac animals used to represent years, 2018 is the year of the Dog. Zodiac signs play an integral part in Chinese culture.
Chinese New Year also known as the Spring festival and In China, you’ll hear it being called chunjie (春节) is the most important holiday. It’s still very wintry, but the holiday marks the end of the coldest days. People welcome spring and what it brings along: planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts.
Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history and is the longest holiday of the year. All stores are closed during the first five days of the Spring Festival, with some not opening until the very end.
Houses are thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “huiqi,” or inauspicious energies, which might have collected during the old year. Cleaning is also meant to appease the gods who would be coming down from heaven to make inspections.
Ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons are offered to gods and ancestors. People hang scrolls printed with lucky messages on household gates and set off firecrackers to frighten evil spirits. Red envelopes filled with money are handed out. In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period are meant to bring good luck, luck to the household and long life to the family.
Most important is the feasting and the best part of the evening… Food! For example, yu sheng (raw fish salad) and fai-hai (seaweed) are often on the menu, which should provide happiness and prosperity. But one of the best-known dishes eaten with the Chinese New Year are dumplings: jiaozi. These steamed dumplings are real flavor bombs. The dumplings are not only eaten for their taste, but also because the shape reminds of gold nuggets and this symbolizes financial prosperity. The name jiaozi therefore refers to a banknote.
For more information and six interesting facts about Chinese New Year read our next article!