Holiday Notice: Chinese New Year 2012
Year of the Dragon
Kung Hei Fat Choi
Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, is the most important traditional festival in China. It begins on the first day of the first lunar month (usually in late January or early February) and ends on the 15th day of the first lunar month (Lantern Festival).
The New Year festival will start from January 22nd (Chinese New Year' Eve) and end on February 6th (Lantern Festival).
Spring festival is an official holiday in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau and is also observed as an official holiday in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
Did you know?
Since ancient times, the Chinese New Year was considered as the time to honor ancestors and heavenly deities. In addition, it was the time to organize family gatherings and grand feasts.
There is a legend associated with the celebration of New Year in China. There was a monster named Nian who used to harass the villagers by eating their crops, cattle and taking away their kids. The villagers had no other option but to place food at the entrance to their homes so that the monster would eat it and go away without harming them.
One day, the villagers realized that the monster was scared of red color. So, they adorned their doors and windows with red paper cutouts and spring scrolls. The villagers also burst crackers to frighten the monster. Since then, Nian never came again to the village. Hongjun Laozu, a Taoist monk, was the one who captured the beast later on. Since then, the Chinese have been celebrating the capture of Nian on their New Year's Day.
There are other stories which say that the Chinese have observed their New Year since the reign of the sage emperors, Sun and Yao. The Western Zhou Dynasty observed New Year as the time when they would begin their agricultural activities. This event was also celebrated with ceremonial gatherings and fireworks by the Han Dynasty. The Song Dynasty, too, observed this special occasion with bamboo poles and fireworks.
Chinese New Year is celebrated with fireworks, lion dancing, dragon dancing and cultural performances on the street. Families organize reunion dinners on New Year's Eve and make special preparations like spring rolls and Chinese dumplings. Offering gifts of money is also a popular tradition followed during this festival.
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In case of emergency
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