Year of the Dragon: Everything you need to know about Chinese New Year 2024

Adriana Lima
By Adriana Lima 8 Min Read
origin 1The dragon dancer performs at the opening ceremony of the annual truthful at the Earth Temple ©AP Photo

Happy Spring Festival! (Chūnjié Kuài Lè!) Happy Chinese New Year!

Celebrated round the world, the pageant acknowledges the second new moon after the winter solstice and the onset of spring, therefore its literal title: Spring Festival or Lunar New Year.

A cornerstone of Chinese tradition, the Spring Festival is widely known by roughly 2 billion individuals. Although it’s primarily related to the majority Han ethnic group in China, additionally it is celebrated by 29 of China’s 55 ethnic minority teams and plenty of different East Asian nations, with public holidays in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Brunei.

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Celebrated the day after the second full moon, this yr’s Spring Festival begins on February 10, and the festivities will final till the Lantern Festival (extra on that later) on February 24.

Today, roughly 2,230,000 individuals of immigrant or Chinese origin dwell in Europe. This quantity doesn’t consider the many different demographic teams of Asian descent in Europe who will have fun the vacation.

What is Chinese New Year?

Many of the conventional festivals of the Chinese calendar come up from the celebration of important agricultural dates. While the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, celebrated the finish of the harvest season on September 29, 2023, the Spring Festival marks the starting of the agricultural season.

There is a deep historic connection between rituals and agriculture in Chinese tradition, which could be linked to the naturalistic method to spirituality. The time period 天 (Tiān) is an effective instance of this, with definitions starting from “day” to “season” to “God” and “Heaven”. While this may seem to be a quite broad scope to a Westerner, it’s according to a philosophy that hyperlinks the supernatural world to the pure world.

origin 1Chinese artists wearing conventional lion costumes in BeijingELIZABETH DALZIEL/AP

Records of Spring Festival celebrations date again to the Warring States interval, from 475 BC till the unification of China beneath Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC

Since the Spring Festival relies on the Chinese lunar calendar, the dates on which it’s celebrated change yearly in accordance to the Western Gregorian calendar. It normally falls between January twenty first and February twentieth, with this yr’s celebration on February tenth.

From the first day of the lunar calendar, the pageant then lasts till the fifteenth day, also called the Lantern Festival.

Year of the Dragon?

You might have already heard that his yr will probably be the Year of the Dragon in accordance to the Chinese Zodiac calendar. Each Chinese yr is represented by one of 12 animals rotating primarily based on the Earth’s orbital place round the Sun, not like the Western zodiac which relies on star constellations.

Chinese tradition additionally assigns character varieties to individuals primarily based on their zodiac animal. According to the University of Washington, child dragons are thought of “charismatic, clever, assured, highly effective, and are naturally fortunate and gifted.” This perception is so pervasive that issues with hospitals undercapacity have been reported in the dragon years, as Chinese dad and mom strive to have a baby in the 12-month interval.

origin 1People in costume be part of a parade to have fun Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dog, in London’s ChinatownAP Photo

You might want to know although that folks born in the yr of the dragon usually are not suitable with individuals born in the yr of the canine. It additionally implies that it’s not advisable to get a brand new pet this yr.

There can also be the component cycle in play. According to the Chinese calendar, a yr can be outlined as steel, wooden, water, hearth or earth. When you add the 5 components to the 12 animals, every particular mixture happens solely about each 60 years.

Since it’s a picket yr, this formally makes it the Year of the Wood Dragon. A woody yr is related to energy and adaptability with private qualities of heat, cooperation, generosity and idealism.

How is Chinese New Year celebrated?

There are many traditions linked to the Spring Festival. For many Europeans, the very first thing that comes to thoughts (excuse the pun) will probably be the parades held in the many Chinatowns that populate cities round the world.

Parades, like these in London and Paris, will convey collectively many fortunate symbols of the new yr, equivalent to fireworks, firecrackers and lion dance troupes. Although will probably be very enjoyable, that is truly not the quantity of Chinese individuals who will have fun the Spring Festival. Instead, the pageant is normally thought of a household affair, with giant numbers of individuals touring round the world to be with their family members.

Probably the most essential traditions related to the Spring Festival are these associated to meals. Large household celebrations are an essential half of the Spring Festival celebrations. Important meals of the day embody oranges and fish, as each are synonymous with prosperity in Cantonese and Mandarin respectively.

origin 1A dancer performs at the opening ceremony of the annual truthful at the Temple of the Earth in BeijingGreg Baker/AP

Another essential custom is the change of Hong Bao, or pink envelopes. Older married relations hand over pink envelopes full of money, whereas staff typically use the pageant as a possibility to hand out bonuses. Word to the clever, nevertheless, don’t present an quantity containing a 4, as the quantity character 四 has an alarming and unlucky affiliation with that of dying 死.

Finally, if you need to want somebody a Happy New Year in Chinese, it is easy. In Mandarin you can use the phrase “春节快乐” (Chūn Jié Kuài Lè), which suggests “Happy Spring Festival”, and in Cantonese it’s “恭喜发财” (Gong hei fats choi), which suggests “Congratulations and be prosperous”. ”.

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