Happy Chinese New Year!
About Chinese New Year
Wondering why some people are saying, “Happy new year!” in the middle of February? The answer is: Chinese New Year. Similar to the January 1st new year holiday, Chinese New Year is a time for new beginnings and hope for good things to come. For 2015, the Chinese New Year is on Thursday, February 19th.
This holiday is the most important annual celebration for Chinese people around the world. It’s also sometimes called the Lunar New Year, because of the Chinese lunar calendar. The Chinese zodiac has a twelve-year cycle, and 2015 is the Year of the Goat. If you know anyone born this year or in 2003, 1991 or 1979, they’re also a goat!
Chinese New Year traditions
Chinese New Year emphasizes prosperity, so many traditions and superstitions relate to good fortune. Here are a few common practices for those who celebrate Chinese New Year:
Doing this before the new year is seen as sweeping away bad luck from the past year. That way, you can have a good start to the new year.
Wearing red clothing and decorating with red items
The color red is a symbol of prosperity, so you’ll often see people choose red clothing and decorations around this time of year. It’s tradition for adults to give children red envelopes with money inside. While you’re too old to get red envelopes, at least you’re too young to have to give them!
Spending time with loved ones
In Chinese culture, family is very important. Getting together to close out the old year and bring in the new year are both popular traditions. Even if you’re far away from your relatives, use the Chinese New Year as a chance to celebrate with your friends. You might not be related by blood, but they are the “family” you get to choose!
How to celebrate
Attend fun events
If you weren’t able to get tickets to the sold out UCSSFA Spring Festival Gala, there are still some fun events as part of the 25th Annual Taste of Asia – Cultural Week and Variety Show from February 15th through the 21st.
Ask your Chinese friends and your KU AAP Student Services Advisors about fun Chinese New Year events at school. You can also reach out to KU Ren Ren, the Chinese Students & Scholars Friendship Association and Chinese Culture Club.
Wish people a happy new year
Here’s how to say happy new year to your Chinese friends:
Cantonese: Gong Hey Fat Choy (pronounced Goong Hei Faht Choy)
Mandarin: Gong Xi Fa Cai (pronounced Goong She Fah Chai)
Watch a Chinese New Year parade
San Francisco, New York City and other big cities with sizable Chinese-American populations have grand parades. You can watch them on TV or online. The thrilling firecrackers, acrobatic dragons and interesting music are sure to get you excited about the new year.
Enjoy a new year’s feast
If you can’t cook in your dorm room, use this as a great excuse to try a nearby Chinese restaurant with some friends. For good fortune, try to have eight dishes in total – in Chinese, the number eight sounds like “wealth”. Eating chicken is considered good luck, and eating noodles represents long life. And yes, ramen counts if that’s all you have.
How do you celebrate the new year?
If you’re Chinese, share your family’s traditions and customs in the comments below. Or if you’re not Chinese, feel free to say what new year traditions you have!