You don’t have to be a very observant person to recognize the massive increase of Chinese men and women in Sri Lanka. Almost every tenth man in Sri Lanka seems to be Chinese, easily recognized by their yellow-tan skin, typical Chinese features and loud banter that seems incorrigible to the average Sri Lankan.
The Chinese New Year is fast approaching – and with it comes a host of superstitions that will apparently dictate how the next 12 months will play out for each of us.
On Saturday the 25th of January Chinese folks all over the world celebrate the Chinese New Year, the most important Holiday for Chinese people all over the world. Here’s all you need to know about the Chinese New Year.
When is Chinese New Year celebrated?
Date – Title
17th January – Little Year
24th January – Chinese New Year’s Eve
25th January – Chinese New Year
8th February – Lantern Festival
Lunar New Year – countries such as North and South Korea and Vietnam celebrate it as the lunar new year. Spring Festival – the holiday marks the end of the coldest days. People welcome spring and what it brings along: planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts.
The little year
This is the time period that the households prepare for the New Year. Preparations include cleaning the house which symbolizes sweeping out the bad luck of the last year in order to accommodate the good luck of the new year.
Decorating every street house and building with red which is believed to be the auspicious color for this festival. Red Chinese lanterns hang in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity. Most public decoration is done a month before, but home decoration is traditionally done on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
As 2020 will be the year of the rat decorations related to rats will be commonly seen.
New Years Eve
New Year’s Eve is a very important and emotional time for families as where ever they are people are expected to be home to celebrate the festival with their families. The Chinese New Years’ Eve dinner is believed to be the most important and loved meal of the year.
Like people waiting in New York Times Square to see the ball dropping, Chinese people have the custom of staying up late on Chinese New Year’s Eve to welcome the new year’s arrival.
After the reunion dinner, families normally sit together to watch the Spring Festival gala, one of the most-watched TV shows in China. At the same time, people give “red envelopes of money’ to the children of the family.
The Chinese New year
People begin the Chinese new year by lighting up firecrackers to scare away the demons and any bad luck in the night. That same night, families also burn fake paper money and printed gold bars in honor of their deceased loved ones. They believe the offerings will bring fortune and good luck to their ancestors in the afterlife.
In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the new year and good luck. The days following are dedicated to visiting extended family and exchanging gifts.
The Lantern Festival
Chinese celebrate the lantern festival on the first full moon of the lunar year. This is a night of freedom and partying. In ancient times, girls weren’t allowed to venture outside by themselves. But on this night, they were able to walk around, moon-gaze and look at the beautiful lanterns. Because of this, it’s also known as Valentine’s Day in China.
The Year of the Rat
In Chinese astrology, each year is represented by an animal. 2020 is the year of the Metal Rat, which is predicted to be a lucky year. The Rat has the first position in the zodiac and is a representation of diligence, kindness, and generosity.
The Chinese New year is a festival of harvest and prosperity and we at Yoho hope this Chinese new year brings you good luck, happiness, and abundance. Or ‘Gong xi fa cai’ (which translates to ‘Have a prosperous new year !’). So here’s all of us at Yoho wishing you a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year. If you are keen to find out more about the Chinese new year and how to experience it in Sri Lanka keep watching this space.