Chinese New Year is a festival celebrated in China marking the beginning of a new year as per the traditional Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year 2019 will be celebrated on February 5 marking the end of the Winter. It also called Chunjie or the Spring Festival as it welcomes spring which brings along harvest season and thus a new beginning. It is also called the Lunar New Year and is celebrated in countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, North and South Korea. It is the longest Chinese holiday as the Spring Festival lasts for 16 days.
Year of the Pig
According to the Chinese calendar, 2019 is the year of 'Ji hai'. Chinese follow a 12-year Chinese zodiac calendar which represents 12 different animals. It is also based on a sexagenary cycle which is a combination of one of 10 heavenly stems and one of the 12 earthly branches. 'Hai' represents the earthly branch symbol which stands for the pig and 'ji' portrays the heavenly stem for yin and earth. Hence, 2019 is referred to as the 'Year of Earth Pig'.
On the evening preceding the first day of the year, the Lantern Festival is held. The Chinese New Year begins on a new moon day and the preparations begin quite early. Several myths, customs and traditions are attached to this day. People pray to deities for good harvest season as the country is primarily an agrarian society. They also pray to their ancestors who are considered as Gods. Chinese New Year 2019 Date: Which Animal Is It This Year? What Is Your Chinese Zodiac Animal?
Importance and story related to the burning of firecrackers:
Firecrackers play an important role in the Chinese New Year celebration. Crackers are burst to ward off the evil and welcome New Year which comes with good luck. Acording to a myth, a monster named Nian would come on the New Year's Eve frightening people. As most people hid in their homes, a young boy fought Nian by using firecrackers. Hence, crackers are burst to showcase their survival against the terrible monster and to drive away bad luck. However, nowadays due to the increasing concern of pollution, use of firecrackers are banned in many cities. Chinese New Year 2019: Ahead of the Spring Festival, Tourists in China Enjoy Human Hotpot Spring Pools (Watch Video)
Customs and Beliefs Attached
People do not take shower, cut hair, sweep their homes or throw garbage on New Year's Day as they believe they may wash away good luck. As red is considered auspicious in Chinese culture, people give each other money in red envelopes. Food like any festival is an integral part of the celebrations. Yule Log cake is a special dish made on the day. People hang red-coloured lanterns, strings, chillis or red paper on door and windows.
People prefer to spend time with their family on the Chinese New Year. Those living in cities and different countries, go to their homes. As shops typically remain closed during the festival, people stock-up essentials a month before to spend more time at home with their families.