It's Chinese New Year on Sunday, the most important day in the traditional Chinese calendar. It’s a day with many myths and traditions surrounding it that date back centuries. This year is the Year of the Snake.
Chinese or Lunar New Year
Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival because it marks the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring in the Chinese calendar. The festivities of the New Year start on the first day of the lunar month, which is the New Moon, and continue until the 15th day of the lunar month. This is why it is known across Asia as the Lunar New Year. The festival ends with the spectacular Lantern Festival.
Origins of Chinese New Year
The origins of the Chinese New Year are steeped in legend. One legend is that thousands of years ago a monster named Nian (“year”) would attack villagers at the beginning of each new year. The monster was afraid of loud noises, bright lights, and the colour red, so these things were used to chase the beast away. Celebrations to usher out the old year and bring forth the luck and prosperity of the new one, therefore, often include firecrackers, fireworks, and red clothes and decorations. In addition to this, children traditionally wake up to find red envelopes under their pillows. These have been filled with money and sweets by their parents and grandparents! Families and friends spend time together, eating special foods and watching fireworks.
The Lantern Festival
The last event held during the Chinese New Year is called the Lantern Festival. People often hang glowing lanterns in temples or carry them during a night-time parade. Since the dragon is a Chinese symbol of good fortune, a dragon dance is central to the festival celebrations in many areas. This involves a long, colourful dragon, made of traditional Chinese materials such as paper, silk and bamboo, being paraded through the streets by numerous dancers.
Make EducationCity.com part of your celebration
More and more people across the UK are now aware of Chinese New Year and many schools and cities have their own celebrations. If your school is marking the occasion, especially with the younger pupils, why not have some fun with World Dress Up Asia in Foundation 2? With this activity, children have the option of clicking on China to learn more facts about the country and can dress up a doll in traditional Chinese clothes. Once the dolls are dressed, they can be printed out and coloured in!