Saturday, December 16

The People of The Moon: Lantern Festival 2011 And The End of Chinese New Year

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We have come to the end of the 15 day cycle that began the Lunar New Year on 3 Feb 2011.  It is now the festival of lights known as the Lantern Festival and the End of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

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The People of the Moon: Lantern Festival 2011 and the End of Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year 2011. Spring Festival and Golden Week. Lantern Festival.

The beginning of the Chinese New Year season is called the Spring Festival or the Golden Week.  There are several Golden Weeks in China around various holidays throughout the year.

The Chinese holiday calendar is based on the moon so one could almost wish people a “Happy Lunar New Year”  as opposed to a Chinese New Year or a Spring Festival.

Some say that for the Chinese, the Spring Festival is the most important holiday and that it is similar in significance to Christmas in the west.  It is a time when families reunite and when special meals are cooked and eaten.  It is even a time for buying and exchanging gifts.  And the children get special presents.  It is import to wish everyone that you care about good fortune,good  health and long life.

Chinese  New Year is an especially fortunate time to receive a red envelope, there may be money in it.

The New Year’s season lasts for 15 days.  The time it take for the new moon to become full again.  Some of the days have special significance.  For instance there are days set aside to show reverence for the dead or visit relatives.  The 15 days period begins with the Spring Festival and ends with the Lantern Festival.

There are many traditions that are associated with bringing good fortune into the new year.  Such as the donning of new clothes and shoes.  This is particularly true for children who are often given money in red envelopes as well.

Thoroughly cleaning the house, clothes, and all kitchen utensils can be part of the Chinese New Year tradition.

Some people believe in using firecrackers and even special lion dances in order to bring about good luck or to hold the spirits that cause bad luck at bay.

Happiness blessings are to be seen everywhere in an area that is ushering in the Chinese New Year.

The Lantern Festival marks the end of the celebration of the Chinese New year.  It is celebrated by lighting many colorful and ornate lanterns and by the eating of rice ball dumplings.  Ancient tradition holds that the lantern festival is a time for solving puzzles and riddles.

The origins of the Lantern Festival are varied and colorful.  Some think that the lanterns were lit to forestall the anger of vengeful Gods, others think the lanterns celebrate the joy of happy Gods.

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Spring Festival and Lantern Festival

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

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Gong Xi Fa Cai

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