The most populous country in the world - along with its global diaspora - is celebrating its most important caendar day: The Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year (known in China as "The Spring Festival") marks the end of the winter season and welcomes the first solar term of the Chinese lunisolar calendar year, Lìchūn. This new year is the year of the dragon.
In the traditional Chinese calendar, the festival begins on the first day of Lìchūn and ends on the 15th day with the Lantern Festival, when traditional Chinese lanterns decorate the streets and children visit temples while carrying paper lanterns.
Chinese New Year’s Eve is a day for the family. Similar to the Western culinary spectacle of Christmas Day (or Thanksgiving), Chinese New Year’s Eve (Chúxī) brings the family together for the annual reunion dinner.
Quite a feast, it is likely to include chicken, pork and fish. The fish is intentionally not finished as the Chinese phrase 年年有魚/餘; (nián nián yǒu yú, or "every year there is fish/leftover") sounds like phrases meaning "be blessed every year."
Families used to end the night with firecrackers, but relatively recent legislation has all but ended that practice. One the morning of New Year’s Day, children greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and then receive money in red paper envelopes.
The Chinese New Year represents togetherness for families and provides an opportunity for reflection and forgiveness.
If you and your family celebrate Chinese New Year, we’d like to wish you a happy and prosperous one!