CHINESE NEW YEAR
FROM WIKIPEDIA, THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA
Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as theSpring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year“.
The source of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan,Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines,and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.
Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity.” Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.
Lunar New Year refers to the first day of a secular, sacred or other year whose months are coordinated the cycles of the moon. The whole year may account to a purely lunar calendar, which is not coordinated to a solar calendar (and, thus, may progress or retrogress through the solar year by comparison to it, depending on whether the lunar calendar has more or fewer than 13 months); or the year may account to a lunisolar calendar, whose months coordinate to the cycles of the moon but whose length is periodically adjusted to keep it relatively in sync with the solar year – typically by adding an intercalary month, when needed.
The following East and Central Asian Lunar New Year celebrations are, or were historically, based on the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar: (occurring in late January or February)
• Japanese New Year (prior to 1873)
• Korean New Year (Seollal)
• Mongolian New Year (Tsagaan Sar)
• Tibetan New Year (Losar)
Vietnamese New Year (Tết)
Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.
Odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit, rather than the last. Thirty and fifty, for example, are odd numbers, and are thus appropriate as funeral cash gifts. However, it is common and quite acceptable to have cash gifts in a red packet using a single bank note – with ten or fifty bills used frequently. It is customary for the bills to be brand new printed money. Everything regarding the New Year has to be new in order to have good luck and fortune.
Red packets are generally given by established married couples to the younger non-married children of the family. It is custom and polite for children to wish elders a happy new year and a year of happiness, health and good fortune before accepting the red envelope. Red envelopes are then kept under the pillow and slept on for seven days after Chinese New Year before opening because it symbolizes good luck and fortune when you sleep on the red envelopes for seven nights.
Clothing mainly featuring the color red or bright colors is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it was once believed that red could scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year. Wearing new clothes also symbolizes having more than enough things to use and wear in the new year. Red is a color of good luck.
In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from elder to younger, small gifts (usually of food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends.
TIPS FOR THE CLASSROOM TEACHER AND FAMILIES AT HOME..
Subjects : Reading, Art and Technology1) Reading: I usually read a book before presenting a lesson that pertains to the lesson. You can read a book first to introduce and share information about Chinese New Year. (some sample of books are pictured below) After reading the book, you can make Chinese lanterns or dragons (seewww.origami-resource-center.com).2) Technology: I try to add a technology piece to my lessons. Here’s a great 5 minute blurb on Chinese New Year: www.history.com and type Chinese new year under “search”
2) Art: Make red envelopes by coloring white envelopes red or purchasing them at an Asian grocery store. Use your preference of how much money you want to put in the envelope
(for ex. 1$, 2$, etc.)
(for ex. 1$, 2$, etc.)
Below are the pictures of the books recommended for Reading. Also, I’m sharing pictures we took during the new year family gatherings. Enjoy!