Let the Chinese New Year Celebrations begin...!
With all the preparations behind us, New Year's Day finally arrives and the Chinese New Year celebrations begin.
Gong Xi Fa Cai !!!
Family and friends visit each other. Traditional New Year's gifts are oranges, tangerines and sweets.
At home, the feast has been prepared. The entire family enjoys the big dinner on New Year's Day with all the traditional foods for good fortune and luck...
New Year's GreetingThe most common way to wish someone a Happy New Year is Gong Xi Fa Cai in Mandarin or Gong Hey Fat Choy in Cantonese.
The characters are the same, reading right to left:
Gong Xi - are good wishes or congratulations
Fa Cai - to become rich, acquire wealth
So together it means "best and prosperous wishes" for the coming year. Which brings us to:
Kids learn promptly the significance of the Chinese Red Envelope since on New Year's Day, they are given the shiny things with money inside!
And of course they quickly learn the words for red envelope... in all the dialects they can manage: "hong pao" in mandarin, "lai see" in cantonese.
You get hong paos from grandma, grandpa, uncles, aunts, mom and dad of course, so by the end of the festivities, you can accumulate a little booty of your own!
And no Chinese New Year celebration would be complete without the:
Dragon DancesThe Dragon Dances begin on New Year's Day, and continue throughout the festivities for the next fifteen days.
All Chinese New Year parades end with the Dragon Dance. A cloth dragon is held on poles by a team of a dozen or more members who make the dragon "dance" by raising and lowering the poles.
Dragons are an important aspect of the culture and tradition. They were once Imperial symbols in ancient China and have come to signify wealth, wisdom, power and nobility. Click here to learn more about Chinese Dragons.
The Dragon Dance Parade brings good luck and prosperity for the coming year and is an essential ingredient of any Chinese New Year Celebration!
Click here for more on the Chinese Dragon Dance, videos, costumes and more.
Lion DancesThe Chinese Lion Dance is often mixed up with the Chinese Dragon Dance. The Dragon Dance is performed by a team of ten or more dancers, whereas the Lion Dance team consists of only two.
The Lion Dancers perform to the sound of drums for the first three to five days of the New Year. They dance in front of stores and businesses to scare off the evil spirits and to bring good luck to everyone.
Click here to learn more about Chinese Lion Dances, videos, pictures, costumes, music to perform your own Lion Dance!
FirecrackersFirecrackers are an important part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. They are lit in front of houses and stores, so that the evil spirits are scared away from the loud noises.
At parades, lion dances and dragon dances, firecrackers are lit up so they drive away the wicked beings and the "bad luck".
Another legend is that the firecrackers will awake the dragon that will bring the spring rain for an auspicious beginning of the growing season.
Whatever the origins, Firecrackers provide the happy ending to the parades and dances and are a must for the joyous atmosphere of the celebrations!
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Chinese Festivals for KidsChinese New Year 2013 is on February 10, 2013
The Year of the Snake!
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