Gung Hay Fat Choy! Welcome To The Year Of The Rat!

On January 25, 2020, over 1.6 billion people of Asian descent across the globe will celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year — China’s grandest festival and longest public holiday. Also known as the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, it is observed on the first day of the lunar calendar, the dates of which fall somewhere between January 21 and February 20 annually.

The over 3,000-year-old festival is believed to have begun after some villagers chased away a terrifying monster called the Nian with loud noises, fire, and red banners on the eve of the Lunar New Year. In China, the new year celebrations now last 15 days and result in the world’s largest human migration, as millions of city dwellers take advantage of the mandatory seven day holiday and return home to spend time with family and friends.

This year’s celebration kicked-off on January 17, 2020, with Little Year or “Xiaonian” — a day for memorial and prayer ceremonies. One of the most popular traditions on this day is burning a paper image of Zao Jun, the Kitchen God. This simple act is believed to dispatch the Kitchen God’s soul to heaven, where it can give a recap of the family’s conduct over the previous year. The deity is welcomed back into the home with a new image pasted near the cooking range and a delectable feast, mostly comprising treats like sweet bean paste, fruits, and barley sugar. This is to ensure that Zao Jun’s spirit reports only positive things about the family the following year.

Many people also use the occasion to spring clean homes to sweep away bad luck, and hang spring couplets — red decorations hung in pairs — on doorways for prosperity. Since red is believed to bring good fortune, the color is prominently featured in everything from clothing to the lanterns used to decorate residences.

The merriments will start decisively the evening of January 24, 2020, with a family supper to respect the individuals who have voyage long separations and persevered through the Chunyun to be as one. Regularly viewed as the year’s most significant dinner, the delectable gala’s menu is grounded in Chinese conventions. An entire chicken symbolizes family fellowship, while long, whole noodles demonstrate life span. Riches and success are exemplified by dumplings that resemble ingots (old Chinese money) and spring moves, which take after gold bars. In spite of the fact that the remainder of the nourishment things differ contingent upon family inclinations, there are typically eight or nine dishes altogether on the grounds that, in the Chinese culture, the number eight speaks to progress, while nine speaks to interminability.

Chinese New Year is especially energizing for kids in China, who get seven days, or two, off from school. They likewise get various red envelopes loaded up with cash and rousing messages from more seasoned relatives, and are permitted to keep awake until late to watch the celebratory firecrackers demonstrates organized to respect the new year.


Muhammad Asif Shahzad

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