Lunar New Year 2022: Five things you may not have known about the Spring Festival

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China celebrates its Lunar New Year on Tuesday, marking the start of the Spring Festival, an 11-day public holiday.

The occasion is also celebrated in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines, as well as in Chinese communities in major cities around the world, most notably in London’s West End, the largest gathering of revelers outside of Asia.

A lunar year records 12 complete cycles of the moon and lasts approximately 354 days, unlike our western solar year, which lasts 365 days according to the passage of the earth around the sun.

Each lunar year is assigned a spirit animal from the Chinese zodiac, and 2022 marks the Year of the Tiger.

“It really is a time for new beginnings and family reunions,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of the Museum of China in America in New York City. oprah magazine, defining the meaning of the event as a moment to reflect on “fortune, happiness and health”.

Here are five facts you may now know about this annual celebration.

Fireworks are lit to banish the monsters.

The Lunar New Year is a season loaded with symbolism.

Red paper lanterns and banners with poetic inscriptions are hung in the home because the color is considered an omen of good luck, while children are often given small amounts of money in envelopes of the same hue, a source of excitement and hilarity. at family gatherings. .

Homeowners also conduct a deep spring cleaning before Lunar New Year’s Eve to remove accumulated dust and grime from their homes from the past year so they can start fresh.

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Observers are advised to pay their debts for the same reason, but to avoid tempting fate by cutting their hair or wearing white or black clothes, both of which are associated with dueling.

A lion dance performance is seen on Lunar New Year’s Day at Chinatown in Yokohama, Japan, on February 1, 2022.

(Getty)

Seasonal superstitions also include firework displays to banish the nian, a half-lion, half-dragon mythical beast. According to folklore, the monster, which is believed to hunt children, is frightened by the noise and smoke from rockets, flares, and exploding flares.

Nian dance groups that parade through city centers beating gongs and drums have the same purpose, to banish an evil force from the land.

It is (usually) the largest annual human migration in the world.

The Spring Festival is usually one of the busiest times of the year anywhere in the world, with people flocking home to be with their families, just like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Thank you in the West.

The holiday travel craze is known as “Chunyun”, with up to 3 billion trips typically taken, although it has been greatly reduced in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of wuhan. before spreading throughout the world.

You can make an appointment

As with all large family gatherings, the pressure to impress is immense and the potential for parental disapproval is high.

In a society of traditional expectations and nuclear families, singles often dread the inevitable questioning about their love lives over dinner.

But there is a novel solution.

Chinese dating websites typically offer fake dates for rent for 500-6,000 Chinese renminbi (£57-£683), the perfect way to sidestep overbearing parents and hassle.

The Great Race of the Jade Emperor determined the Chinese zodiac

According to Chinese mythology, the zodiac was created by the Jade Emperor, who invited the animals to cross the river and come to him on his birthday to discuss the formulation of the calendar, with the promise that the first 12 to arrive would be honored. with a place on the wheel.

The cat and the rat agreed to a pact to go together, climbing on the back of a heavy ox. The rat pushed the cat into the water, jumped off the ox, and won the Great Race. This is why the cat doesn’t show up and is reportedly why cats have resented rodents ever since.

The ox came second, followed by the tiger and a rabbit, jumping on a log, the passage of the beast was facilitated thanks to a gust of wind that blew a dragon, who secured fifth place as compensation for this act of generosity.

A snake scared a horse into beating him for sixth place before a goat, monkey and rooster arrived by raft. The penultimate to arrive was the dog, who should have been a natural swimmer but spent too much time bathing in the cold water.

The pig arrived last, arriving late as a result of his natural laziness, having stopped to gorge himself and rest.

2022 is the year of the tiger

The first day of February 2022 ends the Year of the Buffalo and begins the Year of the Tiger.

Considered the king of all beasts in China, the tiger also represents strength, courage and the exorcism of evil.

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www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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