Chinese Dragons are central to every Chinese New Year parade

I’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year, but I have wondered about its traditions, symbols and their meanings, so here is a little bit about what I discovered.  This year it begins on Sunday, 2/10/13 and will be the Year of the Snake.  The holiday is celebrated every year, but the date varies according to the lunar cycle.

Always falling in January or February, Chinese New Year is celebrated from 3 to 15 days.  The eve and first day of the New Year are celebrated in the highest style.  Fireworks are an essential part of the celebration on Chinese New Year’s Eve to create an enormous and beautiful display.  Then on New Year’s Day, there is a fantastic parade.

It is tradition that most factories close during the Chinese New Year celebration so that workers can travel back to their hometown to celebrate with family.  Visiting family, and giving gifts of small red and gold envelopes containing money is part of the tradition.  The red and gold symbolize prosperity, and good luck.  Live blooming plants in the home are symbols of rebirth and new growth, while flowers are symbolic of wealth.  Written
couplets containing happy wishes are put on walls and doors.

Now that you know a bit about the traditions and symbols of Chinese New Year, perhaps you would like to have a Chinese New Year party to welcome in the Year of the Snake.  Wouldn’t it be fun to think of happy wishes, write them on pretty pieces of paper and
hang them around the house?  Putting up Chinese lanterns would be perfect for such an event.  Remember, red and gold as significant colors to use for their symbolism.  Of course, Chinese cuisine, complete with chopsticks is essential for this party.

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