Chinese New Year or Spring Festival Family Reunion Dinner   Leave a comment


Chinese New Year or Spring Festival Family Reunion Dinner
From Wikipedia:-
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. The first day of the New Year falls between January 21 and February 20. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, and because the holiday is not solely observed by “Chinese” cultures, the Chinese New Year is sometimes referred to as the “Lunar New Year”.
Chinese New Year is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours.
Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity.” Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.
Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, outside China its years are often numbered from the reign of the 3rd millennium BC Yellow Emperor. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year beginning AD 2015 the “Chinese Year” 4713, 4712, or 4652.

Names in Chinese
The festivities surrounding Chinese New Year were known as the Nian festival (traditional Chinese: 年節; simplified Chinese: 年节; pinyin: Nián Jié), which may be understood to as “Festival of the Year”, or “New Year Festival”. A derivative term, Guo Nian (traditional Chinese: 過年; simplified Chinese: 过年; pinyin: guò Nián; literally: “to pass the year”), is still commonly used to refer to the act of celebrating the arrival of the new year. An alternative name for Chinese New Year is “New Year in the Agricultural Calendar” (traditional Chinese: 農曆新年; simplified Chinese: 农历新年; pinyin: Nónglì Xīnnían), the “Agricultural Calendar” being one of the more common Chinese language names for the Chinese calendar in China.
New Year’s Day itself was traditionally named Yuandan (Chinese: 元旦; pinyin: Yuándàn), literally “the first sunrise”, but in 1913 the recently established Republic of China government appropriated that name to refer instead to New Year’s Day in the newly adopted Gregorian Calendar, with Chinese New Year instead being called “Spring Festival” (traditional Chinese: 春節; simplified Chinese: 春节; pinyin: Chūnjié), which remains the official name for the New Year’s Day public holiday in both mainland China and Taiwan. Now, Yuandan refers to the first day of one year according to solar calendar[9] and it is the same day with western New Year’s Day in spite of the time difference. Prior to 1913, “Spring Festival” instead referred to lichun, (February 4 or 5), the first solar term in a Chinese calendar year, which marked the end of winter and start of spring.
An alternative name for Chinese New Year’s Day means literally “the first day of the (great) year” (Chinese: (大)年初一; pinyin: (Dà) Nián Chūyī). The New Year’s Day public holiday in Hong Kong and Macau is named in Chinese, as literally “First Day of the Year in the Agricultural Calendar” (traditional Chinese: 農曆年初一; simplified Chinese: 农历年初一; pinyin: Nónglì Nián Chūyī) while the official English name is “The First Day of Lunar New Year”.
Chinese New Year’s Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, named as Nian Ye Fan, is known as “Evening of the Passing” (Chinese: 除夕; pinyin: Chúxī).


The biggest event of any Chinese New Year’s Eve is the Reunion Dinner, named as “Nian Ye Fan”. A dish consisting of special meats is served at the tables of Chinese families, as a main course for the dinner and offering for the New Year. This meal is comparable to Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S. and remotely similar to Christmas dinner in other countries with a high percentage of Christians. In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings (jiaozi) after dinner to eat around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape resembles a Chinese sycee. By contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a glutinous new year cake (niangao) and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days of the new year. Niángāo [Pinyin] literally means “new year cake” with a homophonous meaning of “increasingly prosperous year in year out”.[15] After dinner, some families go to local temples hours before the new year begins to pray for a prosperous new year by lighting the first incense of the year; however in modern practice, many households hold parties and even hold a countdown to the new year. Traditionally, firecrackers were once lit to scare away evil spirits with the household doors sealed, not to be reopened until the new morning in a ritual called “opening the door of fortune” (simplified Chinese: 开财门; traditional Chinese: 開財門; pinyin: kāicáimén).[16] Beginning in 1982, the CCTV New Year’s Gala was broadcast four hours before the start of the New Year.

Inserted by SP Lim

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