Happy Chinese New Year!!!!

Today is Chinese New Year. I have to admit that while I knew this was a very important and special holiday in the Chinese culture, I never really understood the tradition and significance behind it. When Tulah joins our family, I don't want to just "Americanize" her, have her conform to our ways, and let go of those cultures and tradions that help make up who she is. It is my hope that our family will embrace where she came from and celebrate her heritage with her for years to come.

Here are some facts on Chinese New Year:

Chinese New Year: 2012

The Year of the Dragon
by Holly Hartman
4710 (or 2012) is the year of the dragon

  • Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4710 begins on Jan. 23, 2012.
  • Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.
  • In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year. ( Great for the people in China, but a REALLY long week for those of us back here waiting on China to issue approvals )

  • Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. (Tulah was born in 2009, the year of the Ox. Those born under the influence of the Ox are fortunate to be stable and persevering. The typical Ox is a tolerant person with strong character. )

  • At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

  • In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year's Eve.

  • The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

  • In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets.
Next year, we will get to start having a Chinese New Year Celebration of our own!!!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED reading all your facts about Chinese New Year!! So very interesting!!! So excited that you are DTC!! We are hoping, praying, and crossing every finger and toe that we will be DTC by February 3. That's the goal!!! Praying these next months fly by and that you'll be holding that precious little girl soon!!!