Chinese New Year/ Travel
Chinese New Year, a 16 day celebration based on centuries old superstition is celebrated throughout the world. This year it will be the year of the monkey so read on to learn more about this global festival and where you need to be to get a slice of the action.
Also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is without a doubt the most important event in the Chinese calendar. It’s filled with colorful and bright celebrations, dancing dragons, seasonal markets and red decorations everywhere (sounds like our kind of party).
It’s celebrated all over the world and what makes Chinese New Year so exciting is that no country celebrates it in the same way. Some cities have celebrations over a three-week period and some have elaborate firework displays. There’s no doubt about it that Chinese New Year is one heck of a party.
Legend has it…
The celebration of Chinese New Year dates back to a century-old legend about a mythical monster called Nian, who would terrorize villagers and prey on them. The legend states that a wise old man advised his fellow villagers to make lots of noise with drums and firecrackers so that the loud noises would scare Nian away. Villagers were also advised to hang red-paper cut outs and scrolls on their houses as Nian was scared of the color red. The villagers did everything that the wise old man advised them to do and Nian was defeated. Every year this period of time was recognized as the ‘Passing of the Nian’ and became synonymous with celebrating the New Year.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
Since the legend of Nain originated Chinese New Year has followed certain traditions, so below we’ve listed 3 traditions that you simply must follow if you’re celebrating this year.
In the lead up to the festivities all homes must be thoroughly cleaned and tidied to get rid of ‘huiqi’ or unlucky thoughts which may have gathered throughout the year. However on New Year’s Eve all cleaning equipment must be put away and no further cleaning can occur for fear of sweeping away any good fortune. Cleaning the house is also meant to appease the gods who come down from heaven to make inspections.
Stock Up On Oranges
Displaying and eating oranges over Chinese New Year is said to bring wealth and luck. This originates from the way the Chinese words for gold and orange sound similar, and the word for tangerine sounds similar to luck. Even better if your tangerine/orange has leaves on it this symbolizes longevity. But make sure you don’t group them in fours, as this number is associated with death!
Red is IN
Red is THE color of Chinese New Year! You will see it all over cities that are celebrating it. Red paper packets filled with money are given to children and younger relatives, people wear red clothing and there are lots of red decorations and lanterns that cover the streets. So make sure you’ve got something red to wear if you plan on celebrating but don’t get caught wearing black as it construes bad luck and death, we have warned you.
Now where are you going to spend it?
You might immediately think that there is really no better place to spend Chinese New Year other than in China, right? Wrong! Of course China has amazing celebrations but other places like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand throw some pretty great p too.
Singapore is filled with Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian ethnic groups but when Chinese New Year comes around everyone gets involved with the celebrations. The Chingay Parade is a street and float parade held downtown, it’s the largest street and float parade in Asia and has dancing dragons, stilt walkers, traditional lion walkers, magic shows and acrobats. But if you want a really amazing evening head to one of the many rooftop bars in Singapore. Sip on a cocktail to see in the New Year and you’ll have one of the best views of the fireworks for the evening, it’ll be pretty amazing.
Celebrations in Kuala Lumpur might not be as crazy as many other cities in Malaysia but it’s definitely not a city to bypass over the festivities. Temples like Thean Hou gather celebrators where they can pay their respects to the gods, light joss sticks for their ancestors and admire the decorations. Shopping malls are also covered in decorations and host small celebrations in the evenings. There are also lots of open-air markets for people to wander around and of course fireworks to end the evening too.
With Bangkok being home to the largest Chinatown in Thailand you know it’s going to have some pretty big celebrations for Chinese New Year. No Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without dragon dancers, fire crackers and fireworks and Bangkok has it all, and Chinatown is covered in beautiful red lanterns that light up at night. It’s the perfect place to join in and celebrate with the Thai-Chinese communities and view the parades and cultural performances that showcase the Chinese culture in Thailand.