Celebrating Chinese (Lunar) New Year!
This Sunday, 22 January, marks Chinese or Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival. This calendar change is celebrated around the world, with a variety of customs and traditions.
We reached out to our incredible interpreters to help us understand what the festivities mean to them and how people will be choosing to celebrate. Over the next few days we will share these stories on our website and across our social media, as we wish everyone a very happy New Year and a prosperous Year of the Rabbit!
Today, we are hearing from Ming, a Mandarin interpreter, who has written a really lovely summary of the New Year festivities…
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the most important festival in China. It is celebrated for two weeks from Chinese New Year’s Eve to the Chinese Lantern Festival. It is a time of family reunions and celebrations.
About half a month before Chinese New Year, we clean our homes and shop for New Year’s food, snacks, decorative items, new clothes and gifts for friends and family. We also put up spring couplets and the Chinese character “Fu” (福), which means blessing or happiness, on our front doors.
The most important meal of the year is the Chinese New Year’s Eve reunion dinner, during which family members get together and enjoy the feast and each other’s company. At eight o’clock in the evening after dinner, we will watch the Spring Festival Gala, which is a live TV show on CCTV.
In China, red is considered a lucky colour. It is believed that red can ward off evil spirits, so people wear red clothes in the New Year believing that it will bring them good fortune for the coming year. We visit relatives and friends during the holiday and adults will give children small red envelopes of money, known as Hong Bao, which was my favourite part of the Spring Festival when I was a little girl. Also, dragon and lion dances are often performed during Chinese New Year.
This year, 2023, is the Year of the Rabbit. In Chinese culture, rabbits are considered a symbol of hope, longevity, prosperity and fortune. Thus, 2023 is a year of hope!