Chinese New Year 2014

Traditions, Food and Festivities

The Chinese New Year 2014 welcomes the Year of The Horse and farewells the Year of The Snake. New Year is the biggest festival of the Chinese calendar and the celebrations last for two whole weeks, starting this year on the 31st January. 

New Year celebrations are full of excitement for children -crammed full of red and gold decorations, lanterns, parades, music, food, firecrackers, and gifts of ‘lucky money’ called hongbao (hong pow).

The high point of the festival is of course the dragon dance, with the dragon winding through the streets chasing after the yellow globe (which represents the sun) but never quite catching it. 

Chinese New Year 2014

Chinese New Year is celebrated in many countries outside of China and the events are a great opportunity for children (and adults!) not of Chinese heritage to sample the food, learn about the traditions and marvel at the color and excitement of the dances.

** Fun Chinese New Year Crafts Make a Paper Dragon or an easy Paper Lantern.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year is a time for cleansing, both body and home, of any bad luck that has accumulated in the past year. Families thoroughly clean, repair, and even paint their houses to literally ‘sweep’ the bad luck away. Personally it is a time to end quarrels, pay debts and be kind and thoughtful to friends and family.

Red is the color of good fortune and so houses are decorated with special red banners. This helps to ward off evil spirits, as do the firecrackers that are such a part of the festival. Children are given new clothes and red envelopes with money from their relatives.

Food is also an important part of the festival. In the days prior to Chinese New Year enough food must be prepared to last for at least three days as it is bad luck to use a knife. It can ‘sever’ the good luck that everyone wants to start the New Year with. 

Chinese New Year - good luck banners

A New Year’s feast is enjoyed by families on New Years Eve with each dish being given a special name to bring luck and health to the family. Children stay up as late as they can as this means they are helping their parents to live a long life.

Lion dancers are invited to peoples homes to bring good luck. Two young men make the lion dance and jump around to the rhythm of loud drums and gongs. The beautiful lions are made from paper or silk with a magnificent head decorated with sequins and mirrors.

**Did You Know? The largest ceremonial dragon is paraded in Melbourne, Australia. Dai Loong (Great Dragon) is 90 metres/ 295 feet long and requires the strength of 50 men!

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