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Celebrating Chinese New Year 2012
Chinese New Year celebration
‘Fu’ or good luck’
The “Fu” or “Good luck!” The symbol is still visible during the Chinese New Year period. Funnily enough, “Fu” has two different meanings, depending on which way you see it, both together mean “Happy New Year!” »
A different character from Kung Fu it shows a woman near an oven or stove cooking something special! It is often displayed upside down because it looks like the Chinese character “dao” which means “to arrive” in the sense of “good luck to arrive”.
food for thought
Food, as the symbol above indicates, is an important part of Chinese New Year. This is clearly reflected in many Festival customs and traditions. Dumplings symbolize fortune (resembling small gold and silver bars once used as currency) and are eaten with particular enthusiasm. Fish dishes are also popular, as “fish” and “lots/abundance” sound very similar in Chinese. Delicious sticky rice cakes are also a regular feature on the New Year’s agenda.
The ribs, Singapore noodles, and special rice are enough to get you going if you’ve never tried Chinese food before.
Fireworks and colors
Red, the most active color, is the color of Celestial Energy (T’ien Qi) which activates and energizes our body. Red plays a central role in this festival celebrating the activation of the New Year and is found everywhere during New Year celebrations. Gold, symbolizing good fortune, is also a prominent color found everywhere during this time. , often in groups of four golden Chinese characters on bright red paper, conveying appropriate seasonal sentiments.
Fireworks, including firecrackers, are another essential feature of Chinese New Year celebrations. The invention of fireworks long ago in China is said to have been caused by bamboo, which explodes with a loud noise when burned due to the rapid expansion of the air inside. Martial arts performances, dance performances (especially the lion dance) and parades are also important aspects of the festival celebrations. Hopefully knowing about them in advance will encourage more people to make the most of the events.
Lunar lights: how the date is determined
Yuan Tan, the Chinese New Year festival, begins when the second New Moon of the year appears (the first is the 13th and last 28-day lunar month of the starting year) as celebrations mark the start of a new lunar cycle. Lunar months are actually 29.5 days long and so the Chinese periodically insert an extra month (7 out of every 19 years). Therefore, this predictable moveable holiday has different start and end dates each year.
Chinese New Year celebration
The celebrations begin with the first appearance of the crescent moon (or whenever, as it’s a worldwide festival as long as it’s New Year’s Day). These include fireworks, martial arts performances and of course lion and dragon dances, especially in the West in the “Chinatowns” of major cities. In Sheffield, UK (my home) crowds seek out the Sheffield Chinese Lion Dance Team (of which I am a member). In London’s Chinatown, my most esteemed teacher, Grandmaster Yap Leong’s Shaolin Fists lion dance team is always at the forefront of the celebrations.
Chinese New Year is celebrated in places with large Chinese populations and special historical or cultural ties to China, including: Bhutan, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Nepal, Singapore , Taiwan, Thailand and other places with large Chinese populations. Moreover, as I heard a distinguished Chinese official remark at last year’s celebrations, “This is something China shares with the world. It’s becoming a worldwide celebration!
So join the crowds, wherever you are, when the Year of the Dragon finally arrives on January 23, 2012. London’s celebrations reach their peak on Saturday and Sunday January 28 and 29. There’s a colorful street parade along The Strand, Charing Cross, Shaftesbury Avenue and through Chinatown and free first-class entertainment on the huge outdoor stage in Trafalgar Square, including Kung Fu, ethnic dances, music and visiting Chinese artists. Fireworks, craft stalls and street entertainment in Chinatown, accompanied of course by the Lion Dance, continue well into the evening. Many tour groups “end” their visit with a Chinese meal at one of the many local restaurants in the area. We’ll see each other there!
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