Chinese New Year
Fifteen days of pure unadulterated fun to herald the beginning of a New Year, new hope and cheer – that is the Chinese New Year also referred to as the Lunar New Year. The celebrations begin with the sighting of the New Moon and go on for 15 days and culminate on the last day with the famous ‘Lantern festival’ and Chap Goi Meh. The last day is marked by family reunion dinners generally presided over by the eldest living member of the family.
The Chinese observe traditional rituals to usher in the New Year, the most important of which is perhaps the sacrifice to the ancestors. The Chinese believe that no happy occasion can ever be complete without paying due respect to the departed souls, after all they laid the basic foundations of the family.
Though associated with several legends, the most popular and interesting one is, once Lord Buddha asked all animals to come and meet him on the Chinese New Year and only twelve came. Buddha named a year after each one and announced that a person born in the particular animal's year will inherit some of the qualities of that animal. Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig were the animals that appeared and till date people believe in the years of all these animals.
Preparation for the Chinese New Year begins months before. All the old things are thrown out of the house and are replaced with the new. People begin with thorough housecleaning, scrubbing each nook and corner to ensure that their homes get rid of bad luck and usher in positive energy.