Robbie Burns and his Auld Lang Sang don’t feature largely in the Chinese New Year celebrations.Author: Niamh
Robbie Burns and his Auld Lang Sang don’t feature largely in the Chinese New Year celebrations. After all it was first published in 1796 and Chinese culture goes back a long way further than that.
Nonetheless the Chinese celebrate the same things as the rest of the world. New Year’s Eve is a time when they remember what happened in the past and looking forward to the future. They gather with their families to dine and welcome the New Year. They have dreams and aspirations for the coming year just as everyone else has too. In China they visit their temples to pray for good luck in the coming year.
Fireworks are, of course, essential to their celebrations. After all they were invented in China and are probably one of their most widely loved exports. Certainly firework displays are part and parcel of many big occasion such as the Olympics and National days such as Canada Day.
One custom that is not as popular in the Western New Year celebration is that of cleaning one’s home to rid it of ill fortune and to make way for good luck. Luck features widely in the red decorations on the doors with messages about happiness and good fortune. Those good luck wishes are for prosperity and good health. Thus the Chinese wish their neighbours all that is best in the coming year
Children are an integral part of the occasion. On what we would term New Year’s Day they greet their parents by wishing them a happy new year. In return they receive little red envelopes with money in them. In fact it can be quite a costly celebration with people buying food and clothing, decorations and gifts.
Of course it is not confined to China. There is a huge celebration with a parade in to Trafalgar Square in London. In San Francisco there are gorgeous float in their parade and of course it has its 268’ Golden Dragon. Those parades are all about colour and excitement but it is worth noting that for the Chinese the New Year is also a time for reconciliation. That surely is a lesson we could all learn.
The Chinese have another name for their New Year Festivities. . They call it The Spring Festival and that is a very appropriate name for starting a new year. Spring is, after all, a time of new growth or new beginnings, Most of us have sorrows in our lives and it is good to look forward and wish for a better, happier future. For two weeks every year that is the hope of all who celebrate the Chinese New Year.