It's almost that time of the year again - the busiest and craziest festive season in Chinese culture where an entire nation goes nuts on the last day of the Lunar calendar. Chinese new years happens to be on Feburary 18th this year. Chinese people follow the western calendar, which is widely accepted as the standard calendar worldwide; however Chinese people also follow the Lunar calendar, which dates back 4,600 some odd years at around 2600BC.
The importance of Chinese new year celebration in China and many other east asian countries is akin to Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays in western culture. Chinese new year is a festive season that starts on new year's eve (Lunar calendar), and lasts several days; however, typically, Chinese families will start celebrating Chinese new years a week or so before new year's day, and the entire celebration will last around two weeks.
Chinese New Year Decorations
Chinese New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated with the entire family. Like Christmas, Chinese families will put up all types of decorations to celebrate Chinese new year. Of course, these decorations are all decorations reflecting Chinese culture.
Typically, all the decorations are in red and gold color. Red is the must have color during the Chinese new year celebration - it is considered a happy, energetic, and bright color that will bring good fortunes. Generally, on new year's day, people will wear at least one piece of red clothing, and small red envelopes with brand new Chinese money are handed out for good fortune.
Shopping at wholesale markets for Chinese New Year decorations. It's crowded, and noisy, and all the vendors are selling all varieties of Chinese New Year decorations.
People will start decorating their their homes with all types of Chinese decorations, and these include:
- many varieties of red lanterns - some plain red, some with the Chinese character "Fu" 福, which means "good fortune"
- small and large hanging flat red decorative sheets with a large "Fu" in the middle, and with some type of good fortune message around it such as "Gong Xi Fa Cai" 恭喜发财, meaning "good fortune and financial success"
- large red chilies (artificial) arranged in a long chain for hanging on walls
- large "Fu" characters with a long chain of fake fire crackers hanging below it
- poetic couplets with all types of good wishes and good fortunes written on them
At my mom's place, we also started decorating for Chinese new year. In the photo above is a very long and large chain of fake fire crackers dangling from a large "Fu 福" made in gold color. Notice that the entire decoration is mostly red, with gold accents.
It's still another 5 days away from Chinese New Year, but people have already started stocking up on fire crackers and all types of fire works. Even now, every night, there are people shooting off fire works all around the city. On Chinese New Year's eve and the night of Chinese New Year's day, the entire nation will be shooting off fire works. I will be heading to the fireworks market to buy this year's fireworks!