In China, everyone turns a year older at the same time. Impossible, right? Although the Chinese celebrate their birthdays on different days just as Americans do, they all become a year older on Chinese New Year. This year, the holiday begins with Chinese New Year Eve on January 27, 2017 and ends February 2, 2017. Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, begins on the first day of the Chinese Lunar calendar. This is the most important social and economic holiday in China because it is a time to honor your household and heavenly deities as well as your family’s ancestors. Business comes to a halt and families focus on their relationships with one another. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to please the gods. Ritual sacrifices are provided to the gods and ancestors. Scrolls are posted on house gates with lucky messages and evil spirits are frightened off with firecrackers. Children are given red envelopes called “lai see” filled with lucky money, typically an even number of money. The most important aspect of this holiday is the food.
The first five days they eat noodles, which symbolize a long life. The fifteenth and final day, families serve round dumplings, symbolizing the family unit and perfection. The last course of the meal is fish, symbolizing abundance. Every year is represented by one of the 12 animals. These animals represent the zodiac signs. This year is the year of the Rooster. People born during Rooster years are said to be hardworking, resourceful, courageous and talented, but because it is the year of the Rooster, the Chinese believe they are unlucky. It is said that whatever zodiac sign (animal) the Chinese New Year falls on offends Tai Sui, the god of age, and therefore they are cursed. Tai Sui is an imaginary star that orbits the Earth every 12 years and throughout the course of history has been developed into the god of age. If you are the year of the Rooster, there are things you can do to bring good luck. Make sacrifices to the gods, pray for blessings, wear red, wear jade accessories and face the opposite direction of Tai Sui. This year, Tai Sui is West 270 degrees. Adjust your beds, desks and seats accordingly and have a wonderful Chinese New Year!