year of the Black Water Tiger

The Spring Festival, or Chinese New Years Celebration

The joy of hoping for a better future is universal and Chinese New Year's - embodies this renewal - at the start of spring

We’re sharing The Spring Festival also known as Chinese New Years and how it is celebrated by some people.

The Chinese Zodiac

One year, I went to Toronto and saw the Chinese Zodiac display of the Chinese calendar.

China (the Middle Kingdom) has a calendar that is based on the phases of the moon.

According to the display, over time "an animal came to be associated with each year within a twelve-year cycle of the calendar. People born in a specific year are thought to have the personal attributes of their animal zodiac." 

As a descendant of Chinese immigrants, I am interested in this stuff. Black Tiger Year starts on February 4, 2022 -- today! So, get ready to celebrate CHINESE NEW YEARS.

The Chinese Zodiac display at The ROM during the previous year.

2022 Lunar Chinese New Year

In China, this celebration is called the Spring Festival.

The New Year begins with the first new moon, and the celebrations last the first 15 days of the first month of the lunar calendar until the full moon appears in the sky.

Chinese New Year last 15 days

China is a big place and other parts of China have different customs. The customs described here are from Southern China.

In Southern Chinese people prepare for the Spring Festival by doing a lot of cooking. Starting fires on Chinese New Year's is bad luck so people make food early.

Many start by making all the food for the celebrations and then sweeping away bad luck from last year and putting up decorations. 

On the final day before New Years' Eve, everyone washes and some even cut their hair for the new year. 

On Chinese New Years Eve, people eat dumplings and new years cake before going out at midnight to light fireworks that will chase away evil spirits and welcome the new year. 

Melissa Wong wearing a Chinese dress.

The lantern festival

The 15th day is the last official day of the celebration. All families eat Tang Yuan, or sweet rice balls to wish the family will come together again and be happy. The round shape is a symbol of perfection, completeness, togetherness, everlasting livelihood, and fulfillment in Chinese culture. 

The Lantern Festival is also on the 15th day - it was set aside to worship Tai Yi Shen, who was considered the creator of the universe, during the Han dynasty. Lanterns are associated with gods and their light chases away demons and represents prayers for hope. 

Some people will attach a piece of paper to their lanterns with a riddle on it, so when people go out to look at the lights, they also can solve riddles.

Some lanterns can fly. Sky lanterns are called blessing lanterns or protection lanterns that hold wishes that are being sent to the heavens -- to bring hope and a bright future. 

Let's hope these wishes will come true.

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Melissa Wong

Melissa is a poet, writer, videographer and Sustainability Co-ordinator for Guide to the Good. She enjoys making lanterns and sharing her Chinese heritage with Guide to the Good readers.