March 03, 2016
Chinese New Year began on February 8, 2016. The celebration lasts for 15 days and is the longest public holiday on the Chinese calendar. As of February 8th, we are now in the Year of the Monkey, having ended the Year of the Sheep.
Traditionally, the Chinese set off firecrackers on the first day of the new year. The first meal of the year is usually a time for family reunions. Many celebrate the day by sending greetings to extended family and relatives, especial senior citizens.
Various celebrations and observations take place throughout the 15-day period, some of which have lost their original, ancient meanings. Nonetheless, tradition is kept alive as a way paying homage to the Chinese culture. For instance, while many of us observing Valentine’s Day, a holiday that is more about Hallmark than its original meaning, our Chinese friends celebrate the day on which they believe that the human race was created.
The final day of the Chinese New Year is the Lantern Festival. This 15th day is always a full moon on a lunar calendar. Many communities display colorful, lit lanterns in the evening and it is also a day for parades and dancing in the streets.
To all of our friends in China and all of our Chinese friends in America and around the word, “Happy New Year!”
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