Chinese New Year
2 0 0 2 - Y E A R O F T H E H O R S E
Chinese Lunar Year 4700
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
(The first is Cantonese;
the second, Mandarin. Both are literally Wishing you prosperity!)
Xin Nien Kuai Le!
Sun Nin Fy Lok!
(The first is Mandarin;
the second, Cantonese. Both are literally New Year Happiness! or Happy New Year!
The Lunar Near Year
Chinese New Year Traditions
Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is determined by cycles of the moon and therefore the
dates are movable, each new year commencing on the new moon which
occurred in the late January or February of the Western Calendar. It is not the Chinese New Year but the Lunar New
Year as the date is celebrated by many others besides the Chinese.
The first day of the lunar year is the "Lunar New Year." There are 12
lunar months in the year and by definition the evening of the first day
of the month is the darkest night of the month. As the nights progress,
the moon becomes fuller and fuller until the fifteenth of the month when
there is a full moon, the brightest evening of the month.
To determine the Lunar New Year of another year, for example 1991, refer to a calendar.
Counting the number (24) of new moons from the 1998 Lunar New Year
will give the start of that Lunar Year.
Above: Thanks to Lim Mar
My father had informed me quite a few years ago that the full moon comes on the
15th of the month on the lunar calendar. So, using reverse logic, the
new moon comes on the first of the lunar calendar month.
Above: Thanks to Don Gee
When is New Year? Most people will answer January 1. Well, that is correct.
But if we want to be more specific, it depends on which
calendar system in use. Most of us use the Gregorian
system which is accepted internationally. Many people
think Chinese use the lunar system only. Actually
Chinese lunar system (Ying Lik) also takes into consideration
the solar system by adding a month every certain years. Moreover,
the solar year (365 or 366 days) is divided into 24 periods,
each consisting of 15 or 16 days. The beginning of each
period is identified by a name corresponding to
the position of the sun. The important ones are:
Dong Ze (Winter Summit/Solstice) on December 22. At this time
the sun is at the southmost. People expect the sun to
come back. To celebrate, warm soups of ginger and wheat-balls
Chun Fen (Aries Point) on March 21. At this time the sun
is exactly at the equator. No celebration is held.
Qing Ming (Clear and Bright) on April 5, 15 days
after Chun Fen. It is supposed to be sunny but not too hot.
People go to clean graveyards which otherwise will be
covered by grass.
Of importance is Li Chun (Establish Spring) on February 4,
which is exactly midway between Dong Ze and Chun Fen.
Some people call it Qiao Chun (Hand-over to Spring).
Philosophically this is the true New Year, because
it is the real beginning of spring, while Chun Fen
(Aries) is the summit of spring. European culture
might regard Chun Fen as the beginning of spring
due to different philosophy.
Above: Thanks to Bandvenus Teniseliwanti
Daiwei Dongs Solar Lunar Calendar - Chinese Calendar
Chinese New Year Traditions
This auspicious holiday, which has been observed annually in China for
more than 5,000 years, falls on a different date each year because the
Chinese calendar is based on a combination of the lunar and solar
According to legend the Chinese started to compute time from
2696 B.C., during the reign of the Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, when his
prime minister devised system of 60-year cycles. In the twenty-third
century B.C., the Emperor Yao commanded his astronomers to observe the
solstice and fix the dates of the four seasons so that farmers might know when to plant
their seeds and harvest their crops.
Evidence suggests that the Chinese used
a gnomon, a crude sundial, to determine the solstice and equinox sometime
before the twelfth century B.C. Using that information, a year was
divided into days and lunar months. A lunar month consisted of 29.53
days, the time required for the moon to make one complete revolution
around the earth. Consequently, a year made up of twelve lunar months was
not 365.25 days (the time for the earth to completely circumnavigate the
sun), but only 354.3 days, about eleven days shorter than a year in the
Gregorian calendar. Therefore the lunar calendar required periodic
adjustment. This was accomplished by adding a day or a month to the
calendar when the cumulative fractions equaled a complete unit.
An extra day was added about every two months so that some lunar months
had twenty-nine days and others had thirty. To correct the deficiency of eleven days a
year, a lunar month was added every three years.
In the lunar calendar, the first day of the month coincides with the new
moon and the middle of the month usually coincides with the full moon.
The new year arrives with the second moon following the winter solstice
(on or about December 21) and the lunar new year begins between January
21 and February 20.
Reprinted with Permission by the Copyright
Man-U Import News
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More about Chinese New Year Traditions
The Chinese begin preparations for the new year during the last few days
of the last lunar month. Debts are paid, hair is cut, and new clothes
are purchased. Homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away any ill
fortune and to make way for the incoming good luck. Doors and windows are
decorated with paper cut-outs with the themes of happiness, wealth and
longevity. Incense is turned in homes and temples to pay respect to
ancestors and ask the good for good health in the coming year.
On new Years Eve, families come together to feast. Popular in
Northern China is jiaozi, a steamed dumpling, while in Souther
China nian gao, a sweet rice pudding, is preferred. Family
members engage in playing cards and board games or watching television
programs dedicated to the occasion. At midnight, celebrants ring in the
new year with fireworks, intended to drive away evil spirits. Lights are
to be kept on throughout the night.
On the first morning of the new year, children greet their parents and
receive lay see, lucky money tucked in red envelopes. Then the
family goes door to door with good wishes for relatives and neighbors.
Old grudges are easily dismissed during this time of reconciliation and
goodwill, and gifts are exchanged during visits over the next several
days. The festival is marked by peace. socializing, folk dancing, and