this is the Year of the Sheep
By 2015-01-07 GAC
No one knows when the tradition of Chinese New Year started. Tracing the history of this amazing holiday is absolutely impossible, as it dates many centuries back.
Chinese New Year, just like Western New Year, is very rich in traditions and rituals. People are starting to prepare for the holiday a month beforehand, buying gifts, food and new clothes.
It's amazing how well respected all the traditions and rituals of the New Year's celebration are - the holiday perhaps is the most important thing in the life of the whole country. Even the food served on the table during these days (Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days) has a special meaning. Traditional dumplings «jiaozi» represent the wish for happiness for everybody who tastes them. These dumplings mean wealth and prosperity in the New Year. Their shape is similar to ancient Chinese coins. In some provinces of China it’s a custom to put a coin in one of the jiaozi. And the one who will get it will be a prosperous man. Prawns bring health and happiness, dried oysters - success, raw fish salad - luck, and seaweed, - prosperity. In general, the choice of food during the days of celebration is extremely plentiful.
The New Year comes at midnight. The sky is lit with fireworks welcoming the New Year. People open all the doors and windows to let it in.
There is an old superstition, which does not allow eating meat on the first day of the New Year. It is believed that such food can avert human happiness for the whole year. Also, it is believed that you are going to spend the whole year the way you celebrate it. So people are trying to bring each other nothing but joy, no dissatisfaction and resentment.
The second day of the New Year is the day of worshiping the gods and the ancestors of the family. Honoring the dead is a very important part of the New Year celebration. Older relatives laid the foundations for the welfare and prosperity of their children and grandchildren, and a tribute of gratitude and respect is boundless.
The third and the fourth days are the time to pay a visit to relatives of husband and wife. And on the fifth day it’s decided to stay home to honor the god of wealth.
Seventh day is the most important day for farmers. They make a special drink, using seven different vegetables, and eat raw noodles as a symbol of longevity. The seventh day of the New Year is considered the birthday of all the people. At last, the fifteenth day of the New Year celebration is the Lantern Festival. It is a very vivid and memorable show, with ritual dances and colorful costumes.
Of course it’s impossible to describe Chinese New Year traditions in all the details, as each province has its own variations. But the most important thing to be known is that Chinese New Year is the most important festival in China and one of the most beautiful celebrations in the world.
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