2019’s Chinese New Year Celebrates Year Of The Pig
By Sharelle Burt
Here in the United States, Americans celebrate the new year with champagne and perhaps a kiss at midnight with the one you love. Some might think that is the standard for new year celebrations but over in Asia, they take it up a notch.
The Chinese New Year is one of the most lavish celebrations around the world. Celebrated all across Asia and other places, there are so many things about the holiday that travelers may not know and want to experience. A fun fact is that the most fireworks in the world are set off on that night. According to an ancient Chinese myth, firecrackers are supposed to scare off monsters and bad luck. People stay up to set them off at midnight and then wake up in the morning to do it all over again.
Things can get a little out of control, however. Safety precautions and air pollution have caused many Chinese cities to ban fireworks, like Beijing. Fireworks were restricted for 13 years but the ban was lifted again in 2006 because residents were upset.
Unlike America, their new year doesn’t have an exact start date. This year, it starts on February 5, but it typically ranges anytime from January 21 to February 20. It also has another name, with some people calling it the Spring Festival. Even though it’s during the winter months, people celebrate what spring brings, like blooming plants and a fresh start, with huge lanterns placed all over.
Spring Festival is not all fun and games. The Chinese New Year is really supposed to be a day spent praying to the gods. Families that practice the traditional way celebrate with a day of prayer and preparing a feast fit for a god.
The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is the longest and biggest Chinese holiday. It lasts for 15 days and is like one big family reunion. Traditionally, most people come back home for the big New Year’s Eve dinner, but some take a more modern approach. Since most elderly parents live in rural villages while their kids work in the cities, the migration back home is called “chunyun” or Spring Migration. The rush to get home is brutal, especially since the earliest you can buy train tickets is 60 days before. Statistics show that in 2015, close to 1,000 tickets were sold per second.
While the celebration is one for the books, some interesting traditions go along with it. Did you didn’t know that the Chinese aren’t allowed to shower or take out the garbage until New Year’s Day? Since the celebration brings in prosperous good luck, they want to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck! You’re also not allowed to cut your hair, before the 2nd, curse or argue, break things, use sharp objects or say unlucky words.
Looks like we might need to practice some of these ‘good luck’ traditions here in the U.S. What do you think?