Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Basics of Chinese New Year

The Basics of Chinese New Year Chinese New Year is the most important festival in Chinese culture. It is celebrated on the new moon of the first month according to the lunar calendar and is a time for family reunions and scrumptious feasts. While Chinese New Year is celebrated in Asian countries like China and Singapore, it is also celebrated in Chinatowns spanning New York City to San Francisco. Take the time to learn about traditions and how to wish others a happy new year in Chinese so that you can also partake in Chinese New Year festivities wherever you are in the world. How Long Is Chinese New Year? Chinese New Year traditionally lasts from the first day to the 15th day of the New Year (which is the Lantern Festival), but the demands of modern life mean that most people don’t get such an extended holiday. Still, the first five days of the New Year are an official holiday in Taiwan, while workers in Mainland China and Singapore get at least 2 or 3 days off. Home Decor A chance to leave the problems of the previous year behind, it is important to start the New Year fresh. This means cleaning up the house and buying new clothes. Homes are decorated with red paper banners which have auspicious couplets written on them. These are hung around doorways and are intended to bring luck to the household for the coming year. Red is an important color in Chinese culture, symbolizing prosperity. Many people will wear red clothing during the New Year celebrations, and houses will have many red decorations such as Chinese knotwork. Red Envelopes Red envelopes (ââ€" ºhà ³ng bÄ o) are given to children and unmarried adults. Married couples also give red envelopes to their parents. The envelopes contain money. The money must be in new bills, and the total amount must be an even number. Certain numbers (such as four) are bad luck, so the total amount should not be one of these unlucky numbers. â€Å"Four† is a homonym for â€Å"death†, so a red envelope should never contain $4, $40, or $400. Fireworks Evil spirits are said to be driven away by loud noise, so Chinese New Year is a very loud celebration. Long strings of firecrackers are set off throughout the holiday, and there are many displays of fireworks lighting up the evening skies. Some countries such as Singapore and Malaysia restrict the use of fireworks, but Taiwan and Mainland China still allow the nearly unrestricted use of firecrackers and fireworks. Chinese Zodiac The Chinese zodiac cycles every 12 years, and each lunar year is named after an animal. For example:   Rooster: January 28, 2017 - February 18, 2018Dog : February 19, 2018 - February 04, 2019Pig: February 05, 2019 - January 24, 2020Rat: January 25, 2020 - February 11, 2021Ox: February 12, 2021 - January 31, 2022Tiger : February 1, 2022 - February 19, 2023Rabbit: February 20, 2023 - February 8, 2024Dragon: February 10, 2024 - January 28, 2025Snake: January 29, 2025 - February 16, 2026Horse: February 17, 2026 - February 5, 2027Sheep: February 6, 2027 - January 25, 2028Monkey: January 26, 2028 - February 12, 2029 How to Say Happy New Year in Mandarin Chinese There are many saying and greeting associated with the Chinese New Year. Family members, friends, and neighbors greet each other with congratulations and wishes for prosperity. The most common greeting is æâ€" °Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¥ ¿ «Ã¤ ¹ Ã‚  Ã¢â‚¬â€œ ââ€" ºXÄ «n Nin Kui Là ¨; this phrase directly translates to â€Å"Happy  New Year.† Another common greeting is æ  ­Ã¥â€"Å"Ã¥ â€˜Ã¨ ´ ¢Ã‚  Ã¢â‚¬â€œ ââ€" ºGÃ… ng XÇ  FÄ  Ci, which means Best wishes, wishing you prosperity and wealth. The phrase can also colloquially be shortened to just  Ã¦  ­Ã¥â€"Å" (gÃ… ng xÇ ). In order to get their red envelope, children have to bow to their relatives and recite æ  ­Ã¥â€"Å"Ã¥ â€˜Ã¨ ´ ¢Ã§ º ¢Ã¥Å'…æ‹ ¿Ã¦  ¥Ã‚  Ã¢â€" ºGÃ… ng xÇ  fÄ  ci, hà ³ng bÄ o n li. This means Best wishes for prosperity and wealth, give me a red envelope. Here is a list of Mandarin greetings and other phrases that are heard during the Chinese New Year. Audio files are marked with ââ€" º Pinyin Meaning Traditional Characters Simplified Characters ââ€" ºgÃ… ng xÇ  fÄ  ci Congratulations and Prosperity æ  ­Ã¥â€"Å"ç™ ¼Ã¨ ² ¡ æ  ­Ã¥â€"Å"Ã¥ â€˜Ã¨ ´ ¢ ââ€" ºxÄ «n nin kui là ¨ Happy New Year æâ€" °Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¥ ¿ «Ã¦ ¨â€š æâ€" °Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¥ ¿ «Ã¤ ¹  ââ€" ºguà ² nin Chinese New Year é Å½Ã¥ ¹ ´ è ¿â€¡Ã¥ ¹ ´ ââ€" ºsuà ¬ suà ¬ ping Ä n (Said if something breaks during New Year to ward off bad luck.) æ ­ ²Ã¦ ­ ²Ã¥ ¹ ³Ã¥ ®â€° Ã¥ ² Ã¥ ² Ã¥ ¹ ³Ã¥ ®â€° ââ€" ºnin nin yÇ’u yà º Wishing you prosperity every year. Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¦Å"‰é ¤Ëœ Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¦Å"‰é ¦â‚¬ ââ€" ºfng biÄ n po set off firecrackers æ” ¾Ã©Å¾ ­Ã§â€š ® æ” ¾Ã©Å¾ ­Ã§â€š ® ââ€" ºnin yà ¨ fn New Year’s Eve family dinner Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¥ ¤Å"é £ ¯ Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¥ ¤Å"é ¥ ­ ââ€" ºchà º jià ¹ bà ¹ xÄ «n Relace the old with the new (proverb) é™ ¤Ã¨Ë†Å Ã¤ ½Ë†Ã¦â€" ° é™ ¤Ã¦â€" §Ã¥ ¸Æ'æâ€" ° ââ€" ºbi nin pay a New Year’s visit æ‹Å"Ã¥ ¹ ´ æ‹Å"Ã¥ ¹ ´ ââ€" ºhà ³ng bÄ o Red Envelope ç ´â€¦Ã¥Å'… ç º ¢Ã¥Å'… ââ€" ºyÄ  suà ¬ qin money in the red envelope Ã¥ £â€œÃ¦ ­ ²Ã©Å' ¢ 压å ² Ã©â€™ ± ââ€" ºgÃ… ng hà ¨ xÄ «n xÇ  Happy New Year æ  ­Ã¨ ³â‚¬Ã¦â€" °Ã§ ¦ § æ  ­Ã¨ ´ ºÃ¦â€" °Ã§ ¦ § ââ€" º___ nin xà ­ng d yà ¹n Good luck for the year of the ____. ___Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¨ ¡Å'Ã¥ ¤ §Ã© â€¹ ___Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¨ ¡Å'Ã¥ ¤ §Ã¨ ¿  ââ€" ºtiÄ“ chÃ… «n lin red banners è ² ¼Ã¦Ëœ ¥Ã¨  ¯ è ´ ´Ã¦Ëœ ¥Ã¨ â€ ââ€" ºbn nin huà ² New Year shopping è ¾ ¦Ã¥ ¹ ´Ã¨ ² ¨ 办å ¹ ´Ã¨ ´ §