Gong hei fat choy

The year of the dog began on February 16, the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Brice Cordova, Staff Writer

For many, the new year has just begun! Beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice – which landed on Friday, February 16 – and ending on the full moon fifteen days later, China celebrates their New Year.

Visits to family and friends, special meals, fireworks, and gift giving are some of the common events to participate in during this time period.

The reason that Chinese cultures celebrate their New Year later than ours is because they follow a different calendar. They follow the Chinese Calendar which has twelve to thirteen lunar months per year. This is around twenty to fifty days behind our calendar. On our calendar, this year, the Chinese New Year falls on February sixteenth.

Although the Chinese tend to use our calendar sometimes for business purposes, they still use theirs to mark dates such as Mid- Autumn, traditional festivals, and of course Chinese New Year. In addition, it is used for Chinese Zodiac astrology which has to do with horoscopes and other superstitions of dates.

For instance one of the dates that correlates with the calendar and determines something is the fact that this Chinese New Year is the year of the Dog. This is a Zodiac animal which can vary every year and has a cycle of repeating every twelve years.

People born in the year of the Dog are full of morality and tend to be pretty modest. They are also positively received in the workplace because of their loyalty. Dogs usually also follow the rules but will break them if necessary. These people commonly like to live a quiet life with their families.

Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year lasts for up to twenty three days. People of all ages celebrate and some schools have as much as a month break off.

Dishes regularly served during New Year include dumplings, noodles, spring rolls, fish, and nian gao, Good Fortune fruit, and Tangyuan. Theses foods all have special meanings of fortune behind them on this holiday.

Fish brings prosperity and is supposed to to be eaten within the last dish. Different types of fish also bring different fortunes. Then the Dumplings Bring wealth.

“Legend has it that the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year,” according to Cindy Tang’s article “Chinese New Year Food: Top Lucky Foods and Symbolism.”

Another food that brings wealth, are spring rolls. They actually even get their name from being traditionally eaten at the Spring Festival. Next we have nian gao which is a glutinous rice cake that is expected to produce a higher income or position. In Chinese, the word sounds like it means “getting higher year-on by year.” Although Tang Yuan is the main food for China’s lantern festival, people in South China still eat them during the Spring Festival for the benefit of family togetherness. And these are basically just sweet rice balls. These are a just a few examples of the foods holding superstition regarding Chinese New Year.

If you want to know how to greet people during this celebration then just say, “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (Mandarin) or “Gong Hey Fat Choy” (Cantonese). This translates to “Happy Lunar New Year Eve” since the moon is what this holiday is based on.

This event is actually even celebrated by one sixth of the world’s people. Not only is it in China, but also other places like Vietnam, Singapore, and other Asian countries. However, in more recent times, the Spring Festival has been celebrated in places such as New York, Sydney, London, and more. At this time of year, the traveling business likes to refer all the trips made as the “Spring Festival Travel Rush.” According to “travelchinaguide.com,” the overall amount of trips made by plain, bus, train, and ship can nearly get to around 3 billion.

One fun fact about this festival is that it is the “annual largest usage of fireworks on the planet” (“Chinese New Year Facts”). At the Hong Kong display of fireworks alone, there were roughly 24,000 fireworks launched for 287,000 people last year.

Chinese New Year is not only a Spring festival, but a time for families to come together and experience the loads of fireworks to be be exploded in the night sky.