The Year of the Dog

The Spring Festival, popularly known as the Chinese New Year or the Lunar New Year is a much-celebrated event in the world. The festivities, traditions surrounding the event are being passed on to generations as they welcome prosperity, health and positive relationships.

The first day of the celebrations which last for 15 days falls between January 21 and February 20. The celebrations will commence on February 16 this year and in countries which have a sizeable portion of Chinese people like Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mauritius, Australia and Philippines.

The belief dates back to the Shang Dynasty when people used to hold ceremonies to honour Gods and their ancestors at the start of the year. Since 1911, when Chinese adopted the Gregorian Calendar, the occasion was also named as the Spring Festival. The traditions are also replete with stories and myths. The most popular revolves around the mythological beast Nian who eats livestock, people and even crops. People used to put food on their doors to avoid such occurrences. Nian was afraid of loud sounds made by firecrackers and red colour.

This is a highly cheerful time for families to celebrate, light fireworks and even watch traditional dances of the lion. People usually clean their houses and sweep out all ill-fortune. People decorate their houses with red strips, red being an auspicious colour in Chinese tradition.

 

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