Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Meaning of Chinese New Year
Today, i was sending some messages to frens.. and they tell me that why i send those to them.. Wat i send? HAPPY BDAY.. so today is 7th day of CNY.. and is everyone bday.. i am going to blog it fr de day.. as meaning of CNY and each of days in CNY Means
Chinese New Year (simplified Chinese: 农历新年; traditional Chinese: 農曆新年; pinyin: Nónglì xīnnián; literally: "Agrarian Calendar New Year") or Spring Festival (simplified Chinese: 春节; traditional Chinese: 春節; pinyin: Chūnjié) is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside China. It is an important holiday in East Asia. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival (simplified Chinese: 元宵节; traditional Chinese: 元宵節; pinyin: yuánxiāojié).
Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī (除夕). Chu literally means "pass" and xi means "Eve".
Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had a strong influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. In Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and other countries with significant Chinese populations, Chinese New Year is also celebrated, largely by overseas Chinese, but it is not part of the traditional culture of these countries. In Canada, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Canada Post issues New Year's themed stamps in domestic and international rates.
Although the traditional Chinese calendar did not use continuously numbered years, its years are now often numbered from the reign of Huangdi outside China. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various writers, causing the year beginning in 2008 to be 4706, 4705, or 4645
The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visits to kin, relatives and friends, a practice known as "new-year visits" (Chinese: 拜年; pinyin: bàinián). New clothings are usually worn to signify a new year. The colour red is liberally used in all decorations. Red packets are given to juniors and children by the married and elders. See Symbolism below for more explanation.
All these festivities may vary from region to region and from family to family.
Days before the new year
On the days before the New Year celebration Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. There is a Cantonese saying "Wash away the dirts on ninyabaat" (年廿八，洗邋遢), but the practice is not usually restricted on ninyabaat(年廿八, the 28th day of month 12). It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-panes a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets. Purchasing new clothing, shoes and receiving a hair-cut also symbolize a fresh start (though, as described below, it may be considered bad luck among some.)
In many households where Buddhism or Taoism is prevalent, home altars and statues are cleaned thoroughly, and altars that were adorned with decorations from the previous year are also taken down and burned a week before the new year starts, and replaced with new decorations. A paper effigy of the Kitchen God, the recorder of family functions, is also burned in order to report to the Jade Emperor of the family household's transgressions and good deeds.
The biggest event of any Chinese New Year's Eve is the dinner every family will have. A dish consisting of fish will appear on the tables of Chinese families. It is for display for the New Year's Eve dinner. In northern China, it is also customary to have dumplings for this dinner. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape is like a Chinese tael. This meal is comparable to Christmas dinner in the West. After the dinner, some families go to local temples hours before the new year begins to pray for a prosperous new year; however in modern practice, many households hold parties and even hold a countdown to the new lunar year.
First day of the new year
The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year's Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the day before.
Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.
Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Lunar New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers.
Second day of the new year
Incense is burned at the graves of ancestors as part of the offering and prayer ritual.The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently. On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs.
Business people of the Cantonese dialect group will hold a 'Hoi Nin' prayer to start their business on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year.The prayer is done to pray that they'll be blessed with good luck and prosperity in their business for the year.
Third and fourth days of the new year
The third and fourth day of the Chinese New Year are generally accepted as inappropriate days to visit relatives and friends due to the following schools of thought. People may subscribe to one or both thoughts.
1) It is known as "chì kǒu" (赤口), meaning that it is easy to get into arguments. It is suggested that the cause could be the fried food and visiting during the first two days of the New Year celebration.
2) Families who had an immediate kin deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead. Some people conclude it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all.
Fifth day of the new year
In northern China, people eat Jiǎozi (simplified Chinese: 饺子; traditional Chinese: 餃子) (dumplings) on the morning of Po Wu (破五). This is also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth. In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re-open on this day, accompanied by firecrackers.
Seventh day of the new year
The seventh day, traditionally known as renri 人日, the common man's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older.
It is the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten. This is a custom primarily among the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore. People get together to toss the colourful salad and make wishes for continued wealth and prosperity.
For many Chinese Buddhists, this is another day to avoid meat.
Ninth day of the new year
The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天公) in the Taoist Pantheon. The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor.
This day is especially important to Hokkiens and Teochews (Min Nan speakers). Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, Hokkiens will offer thanks giving prayers to the Emperor of Heaven. Offerings will include sugarcane as it was the sugarcane that had protected the Hokkiens from certain extermination generations ago. Tea is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honored person.
Fifteenth day of the new year
The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuánxiāo jié (元宵节), otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect. Rice dumplingsTangyuan (simplified Chinese: 汤圆; traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyin: tāngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.
This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.