Happy Year of the Rabbit!

Tomorrow marks the start of the Spring Festival 春节 Chūn Jié– which is the first day of the Lunar Year and ends 15 days later with the Lantern Festival. The country is celebrating with a week-long holiday and many people return to their home-towns to spend time with their families. Tonight marks the passing of the old year and the night resounds with the sights and sounds of fireworks all over the city.

This video gives some further insight to the some of the background to Chinese New Year and the traditional customs involved:


Traditions have changed and often the reunion dinners enjoyed by families on this final day of the old year have moved out of the family home and into hotels and restaurants. For some migrant workers it has become too expensive and difficult to obtain train tickets to travel across the country at this busy time, and for some of the younger generation, it is a time for change and they make plans to travel elsewhere.
Homes and buildings are decorated with red lanterns; poems and blessings are written on red paper and placed on doors and windows; decorations depicting the traditional Chinese knot hang on the walls.

Traditions and superstitions abound….
  • All brooms, dustpans, and cleaning supplies are put away on the eve of the festival to keep the fortune of the New Year.
  • žFireworks are set off to welcome the New Year.
  • žAt the stroke of midnight, all doors and windows are opened to release the old year.
  • žAll debts should be paid, and nothing lent out, or you shall lend all year.
  • žFoul language should not be spoken on the New Year.
  • žIf you cry on the New Year’s day, you shall cry all year.
  • žPeople shouldn’t wash their hair on the New Year, or they will wash their luck away.
  • žWear red, as red is considered a bright and happy color, ensuring a bright and happy year.
  • žChildren & unmarried adults are given new, crisp dollar bills to bring them good luck in the New Year.

新年好 -祝你们 新年快乐 – 恭喜发财!

Xīnnián kuàile – xīnnián hǎo – gōngxī fācái!

Happy New Year

– Wishing you a prosperous and successful Year of the Rabbit!


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February 2011
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