Chinese New Year festivities will kick off on Friday, Jan. 27 (New Year’s Eve), and extend for 15 days, until Feb. 2. Unlike the Roman calendar (which marks the New Year holiday every Jan. 1), the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar calendar and the winter solstice.
2017 is the Year of the Rooster, the 10th of 12 signs in the Chinese Zodiac. The last Year of the Rooster was 2005. According to Chinese astrology, the rooster represents hard work, punctuality, and fidelity, since the rooster crows to wake up the world every morning. People born during the year of the rooster tend to be independent, kind, honest, and beautiful.
If you want to embrace this holiday, consider incorporating some real Chinese traditions into your home, such as these:
The start of a new year is all about maximizing your luck and getting rid of your demons from the previous year. Before the start of the Chinese New Year, families clean their homes from top to bottom to rid the house of any bad luck that accumulated over the last 12 months. If you’re exhausted after all of that extensive cleaning, don’t worry: To preserve the new good luck in your home, you shouldn’t sweep for a few days after the new year.
The color red has a lot of symbolism in Chinese culture; it represents energy, good luck, and happiness. Thus, it follows that red is everywhere in Chinese New Year décor. Deck the halls in red lanterns, banners, streamers, and signs with messages for well wishes. Gold, another color representing wealth and prosperity, is the perfect accent color in your decorations.
In the United States, fireworks are most closely associated with Independence Day, but in China, they’re reserved for the new year. In the Chinese spirit, light up some small fireworks (or firecrackers) this weekend. The colors add to the celebratory atmosphere of a new year. Plus, the loud bangs when the fireworks go off are thought to scare off evil spirits. That’s a win-win situation if we’ve ever heard one.
No holiday would be complete without a delicious meal, and the Chinese New Year is no different. The main food for this holiday is the dumpling. Resembling the shape of pieces of gold, these pork and chive stuffed pillows are delicious and will bring luck — the Chinese name, jiaozi, sounds like a word that means “bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new.” Other traditional Chinese New Year dishes include whole roasted fish, spring rolls, and roasted poultry.
Giving and receiving red envelopes filled with money is a well-loved tradition for the Chinese New Year. As soon as you start earning your own money, it’s expected that you give red envelopes to your elders, children, employees, and friends’ children. If you want to maximize your luck, give out dollar amounts with eights in them, as eight is the luckiest number in Chinese culture.