Chinese culture has been leaving heavy imprints around the world with every step they take toward the new world.
To your everyday Americans, New Years may just simply be the first day of ㅡ well, a new year! However, more than 2 billion people around the globe including a large fraction of Americans celebrate this holiday on a different day with a different purpose. This holiday is commonly known to be Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival. By the 21st century, Chinese New Year has now become an internationally pronounced holiday, and an official holiday in more than 15 countries.
“When I was younger, Chinese New Year used to be so exclusive to only East Asians, now it’s become something bigger. As a Chinese person, that makes me proud, and I feel grateful to those who are open to welcome our culture into their agendas,” YiQiang, a father of 2 said. “Coming to America, I was worried that our culture would gradually lose itself, as my children are growing up in a western community. Thankfully, Chinese integration is still alive.”
Chinese New Year unanimously serves as the most important holiday of all existing traditional Chinese holidays. It is often referred to as “Lunar New Year” as it is based on the lunisolar Chinese calendar. The lunisolar calendar is used commonly across many culture. Its dates indicates the moon phase and time of the solar year.
“New Year is like a huge family gathering for us. [There are] Some relatives we only see every once every New Year. During this time, we gather to celebrate as a family. I believe that is what makes New Years so special,” states BoXian.
On Chinese New Year, work bodies often dedicate the time to travel long distances to return to families to celebrate the Spring Festival. This is known as the "Spring movement" or Chunyun in Chinese, a large scale migration that takes place for those in a hurry to go home.
The celebration festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar which is often a month later than the gregorian calendar. The celebration doesn’t end until the 15th day with a Lantern Festival. In the span of those 15 days, those who celebrates the holiday work hard to uplift their spirits, and it’s about bringing in fortune. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.
During these 15 days, the loud crackle of firecrackers, drums, flicker of red lanterns at night, and red paper cutouts with calligraphy are not unfamiliar. Many cities around the world also hold New Year parades complete with a dragon and lion dance. Common Chinese New Years tradition includes Red Envelope. Like it’s name suggests, it is a red envelope that is essentially filled with money.
A profound holiday enriched in history and culture. A celebration that houses and grasps Chinese culture and views in it’s armhold.