Author: Kiara Poitra, Receptionist & Event Coordinator
Everyone knows of the Chinese New Year. But how much do we actually know about it? I believe that it is a beautiful time of the year, filled with festivals and celebrations for all new things to come! I have done some research on the subject, and here is what I learned:
The Chinese New Year is a wonderful celebration that goes on for about 15 days (January 25th-February 8th). This year is the Year of the Rat. January 17th to the 24th is considered “Little Year”. Little Year is when preparations for the new year take place. January 25th is when the Chinese New Year, or the “Spring Festival,” officially begins – it ends on February 4th. Finally, February 5th is the “Lantern Festival,” which lasts until the 8th.
But why are all of these dates so special? Well, I’ll tell you!
The Little Year (January 17th-24th) is a time of memorial and prayer ceremonies. One of the main activities that takes place during this time is house cleaning to get rid of bad luck. Popular foods that present during the Little Year are sugar melons, baked wheat cakes, and tofu soup. Sugar melons are made of malt and can only be found during this time.
The Spring Festival, or better known as the Chinese New Year (January 25th-February 4th) is known as “Yuán Dàn,” which means “the beginning.” Many of us celebrate this on January 1st, which is the lunar date. One of the activities that happens during this time is starting the day off with firecrackers to celebrate greetings and blessings between neighbors. The rest of the day is for celebrating the new and upcoming year.
Most important foods for this event are had the night before (New Year’s Eve). That dinner includes everyone’s favorite dishes and specialties. It is believed that if one were to sweep or clean on this day, all good fortune would be gone.
January 27th is the “Day of the Rat!” On this day, people leave grains and crackers in corners to share their harvest with the rats. People go to bed early in to ensure that they do not disturb the rats while they feast. In return, the rats do not bother them during the year.
Last but not least, the Lantern Festival. The Lantern Festival is held on February 8th. In the Ming dynasty, this festival lasted ten days! However, in modern day, it lasts half that time. The preparation dates are February 5th-February 7th. The preparations include purchasing lanterns and constructing light sheds. Creating lanterns is the most important activity during this festival. “Lantern Riddles” is a game played by writing riddles on lanterns, but the best way to celebrate is by moon-gazing while the lanterns are high in the sky!
That concludes the Chinese New Year traditions I uncovered during my research. If you are interested in learning more about the Chinese New Year and the festivities, visit this helpful link I found during my research.
Thanks for reading!
Receptionist & Event Coordinator
Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau