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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chinese New Year 2011 Celebrations

Chinese New Year is the longest and most celebrated occasion in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year begins on Feb. 3, 2011.
Chinese months are determined by the lunar calendar, New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him. Twelve different animals came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He also declared that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in Year of the Rabbit are popular, compassionate, and sincere.

During Chinese New Year celebrations, people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are from a similar ancient custom. Long ago (when fireworks were not yet discovered), people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

In China, the New Year is a time when families unite and celebrate together. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other Chinese New Year events.

How about you, how do you celebrate the Chinese New Year?


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