xīn nián kuài lè – Happy New Year!

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xīn nián kuài lè – Happy New Year!

chinesenewyear.net

chinesenewyear.net

chinesenewyear.net

Gina McBean-Linton, Guest Contributor

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Have you noticed the red decorations in the Global Programs Office? Chinese New Year is upon us. The Chinese Culture follows the lunar calendar, so their New Year depends on the moon cycle. 2019 begins for those celebrating this year on February 5. New Year’s Eve is a significant day in the Chinese culture (some other Asian cultures too) as families usually spend the day together preparing for a family dinner and celebration.

chinesenewyear.net
Because they look like bars of gold, spring rolls are a wish for prosperity and wealth.

It is the beginning of the Spring Festival and is the most important festival celebrated all year, and it lasts for seven days. In China, it can last longer. All family members who have moved away are supposed to migrate back home for a Family Reunion of sorts if they are able. Historically, for those that were unable to travel home, a place was left at the table for them. Starting News Years day, people go to visit extended family and friends always bringing gifts.

The lunar calendar is marked by a twelve-year cycle which includes: Mouse, pig, bull, rabbit, dragon, snake, dog, sheep, chicken, tiger, monkey, and horse. This is the year of the Pig. The pig is associated with wealth. Their chubby faces and large ears are a sign of fortune as well. That is why you will see many Asian establishments with Happy Pig figurines displayed.

Olaola – Fotolia
Round chinese calendar with signs animals (years starts from 1935 to 2026)

 

Many of our international students have taken either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s to spend time with family either in person or via video chat methods. Some parents have traveled here to spend time together. For those unable to go home, it is often a time that students are quite homesick and feeling like they are missing out on all the festivities going on at home. So start a conversation. Ask who celebrates the holiday. So by all means, wish them a Happy New Year!