Happy Chinese New Year from Western Coast Insurance Services
February 5, 2021
In 2021, Chinese New Year is on Friday, February 12, and ends with the Lantern Festival on February 26. The celebrations go for 16 days and mark the transition from the year of the Rat to the year of the Ox.
What is the lunisolar calendar?
The lunar calendar is based on synodic months, or complete moon cycles, as opposed to a solar year, which is based on the seasons and has about 365 days. There are approximately 12.37 synodic months in a solar year. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar and is based on the moon’s phases and the sun’s longitude. It is said that Emperor Huangdi invented it around 2600 – 3000 BCE and according to legend the exact year was 2637 BCE.
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival, starts with the first new moon in the lunar calendar and ends 15 days later with the first full moon of the lunar calendar.
The history of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year may date back to prehistoric times and while the Gregorian calendar is followed in China, important festivals are determined by the Chinese calendar. Every year is assigned an animal and it is said that people inherit characteristics from their birth year animal. The animals are assigned in 12-year cycles.
Celebrating Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important Chinese holiday and Chinese communities around the world participate. Chinese New Year celebrations include banquets, offerings to deities, wearing new red clothing, parades, performances, dances, music and acrobatics. Children receive red envelopes of “lucky money” and doors of houses are left open so good luck can enter. There are fireworks, candles, and paper lanterns, and the festivities end with a lantern festival.
The Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Festival, promotes peace and forgiveness. Houses are decorated with lanterns with riddles on them and if the riddle is answered correctly, the person who solves it gets a small gift. There are lion and dragon dances, fireworks and parades, and rice balls, called yuanxiao or tangyuan, the round shape of which symbolizes unity, are eaten.
Chinese New Year Symbols
Chinese New Year has traditional symbols.
The water narcissus is believed to bring good fortune.
Plum blossoms are associated with hope and courage.
Tangerines are associated with good luck and wealth.
Writings considered to be lucky are displayed in homes and businesses and written on red diamond-shaped pieces of paper.
The color red symbolizes success, good fortune and happiness.
The year of the Ox
2021 is the year of the Ox. People born in the year of the Ox are believed to be earnest and honest and are recognized for their hard work. They are logical and make good leaders. Men are trustworthy, reliable, family-oriented, and have high expectations for their children. Women are gentle, calm, quick thinkers who forge their own path in life.
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