6 Things you didn’t know about Chinese New Year

By Amy Farnworth

Liverpool loves a party and the 2018 Chinese New Year celebrations are set to be bigger and better than ever.

As the city gets set to be painted red with lanterns, carnivals, exhibitions, and brand new sights and sounds to celebrate the Year of the Dog, we take a look at how we’ve come to adopt this ancient festival and what it means to the Chinese community. From learning about lucky food to the importance of new clothes and receiving red envelope gifts from family and friends, there’s much more to Chinese New Year than dragon dancers and fire crackers.

Click here for the details of the brilliant line up of family friendly entertainment coming to the city from Thursday 8th February onwards. 

Here’s 6 things you might not know about Chinese New Year….

1 – Happy New Moon

The date of the festival actually changes every year, and this is because it follows the Lunar calendar. The Lunar calendar is based on the movement of the moon and means the festival usually falls between 21st January and 20th February. This year it falls on Friday 16th February and what a weekend of entertainment we’ve got lined up. Click here for all the details.

2 – Food for Thought

There are seven lucky foods that should be eaten during Chinese New Year celebrations, and it’s not just the type of dishes that matter but the ways of serving and eating them mean a lot too. Fish is eaten for prosperity; Tangyuan (sweet rice balls) for family togetherness; Dumplings and Spring Rolls for wealth; and Niangao (glutinous rice cake) for higher income or position. And if eating Good Fortune Fruit brings wealth and fullness, and Longevity Noodles bring happiness and longevity, then we’ll have extra servings of both, please!

3 – Which Animal Are You?

The Chinese New Year starts a new animal’s zodiac year. In China, each lunar cycle has 60 years, and 12 years is regarded as a small cycle. A very old custom is to define each of the 12 years by an animal, find out which one you are here.  The animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. 2018 is the year of the Dog. Dogs are said to be honest, smart, faithful and loyal and lucky. Famous Dogs have included Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, and dare we say it…Donald Trump!

4 – Party Time, All The Time

Festival celebrations last for 15 days, making it the longest festival in the Chinese calendar. The peak times of the entire celebrations are on New Years’ Eve and then on the first day of the lunar new year, which is marked by the famous Lantern Festival. But not only that, it’s the longest public holiday in China, and sees the whole country taking time off work for over a week.

5 – Everyone is Welcome

One sixth of the world’s people celebrate Chinese New Year, with the festivities being observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and many other countries and cities across the globe, including New York and Liverpool! Everyone wears new clothes, and children especially are more than happy to parade their beautiful new garments to their friends and families. Need a wardrobe update? There’s never been a better time to shop than now.

6 – Red is the Colour

…..And sticking with gifts, children traditionally receive red envelopes instead of commercialised western style presents. The precious envelopes usually contain money from grandparents and other relatives, and better still, the children are allowed to spend the money on whatever they want. New iPhone anyone? Decorations for the celebrations are usually in red. Houses are decorated red too and the streets of Chinese cities are lit up by red lanterns. Red, in Chinese culture is a symbol of happiness, wealth and prosperity, and can often bring good luck.

Click here to find out more about the China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warrior exhibition, opening at the World Museum on Friday 9th February.

How are you celebrating Chinese New Year? With your favourite meal? A trip into China town to watch the amazing illuminations? Drop us a line with your Chinese New Year events and pics, on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and we’ll share the best on our socials.

 

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