Year of the Rooster - Chinese New Year Celebration
Known as ‘The Spring Festival,' the Chinese New Year is a holiday celebrated all around the world with enthusiasm. Like in Western traditions, the Spring Festival is a chance to celebrate a year of hard work, rest and be with family as well as wishing good luck and a prosperous coming year for you and your loved ones. Because the year is measured with the lunar calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar, it is on a different date every single year though it usually falls somewhere between January 21st and February 20th, this year it falls on 28th of January.
Many interesting legends are surrounding the reason why this tradition was born. Guo Nian is what the first day of the lunar year is called, which can mean ‘overcome Nian’. Nian was a legendary monster who in ancient times lived deep in the sea and every time the year turned it showed up to eat people and livestock. People used to run away to the mountains on this day until an old man visited the village and refused to hide and instead scared the monster away by wearing red clothes, pasting red papers on doors and burning bamboo to make loud sounds. When the villagers returned, the village was intact, and so they continued to follow the old man’s instructions at the turn of the year to keep the monster away, and so the tradition was born.
The Year of the Rooster
Every year is related to an animal in the Chinese zodiac, 2017 will be the year of the rooster and not only that but it is a Fire one. People born during this years are hardworking and resourceful, courageous, talented and observant. These people tend to be extroverts; they are amusing and popular with a crowd because of their talkative, frank and honest nature; they are the center of attention, they always seem to be beautiful and attractive and better yet, they enjoy the spotlight and are happiest when others surround them. According to tradition the year of your sign is the unluckiest year in the 12-year cycle, so if you were born in such a year then you should be careful on 2017; Although, this doesn't mean that you can’t have fun like everyone else.
How the Spring Festival is Celebrated
Traditionally this is a family-oriented holiday, no matter where they are people all around the world travel to spend the time with their families. Most of the traditions are all about having good luck in the coming year which is why people wear red underwear as the color is traditionally considered to be good luck. Firecrackers and dancing are also a very big part of the tradition, as the firecrackers shoot out the old year while welcoming the new one with a literal bang.
Red envelopes with money inside are handed by the elders or married couples to unmarried younger people. The envelopes contain the money used to put down the evil spirits; they contain an even number amount; the number 8 is considered lucky as is the number 6 so if you are considering taking up this particular tradition handing out envelopes with these numbers is very much recommended. The red envelopes are then put under the pillow and slept on for seven nights after the first celebrations, symbolizing good luck and fortune in the coming year.
Where Can You Celebrate?
The most popular thing to do when the Spring Festival comes around is to watch the colorful parades that are organized by Asian communities all over the world. These celebrations are surprisingly popular, especially in the U.S and Australia where local communities really strive to put on a show and make the festival a memorable experience for everyone who joins in.
The traditional celebration usually lasts for fifteen days, starting this year on the 28th of January, meaning that you will be able to attend to many different events for two weeks as some organizations will organize concerts and fairs to teach people about their traditions. Around this time, there will be announcements and events surrounding the tradition, such as the release of the MAC Chinese New Year Makeup Collection, which this year has been described as a celebration of this tradition through bold colors and a new eyeshadow pallet to celebrate the year of the rooster.
No doubt, the absolute best place to celebrate this holiday is San Francisco since it is the home of the largest Chinatown in the U.S. The Spring Festival’s Parades have been happening there since the 1860’s after immigrants decided to show people what their culture was all about. The San Francisco celebration is the biggest in the world, outside of Asia and it draws around a million spectators every single year. The parade’s headliner is definitely the 268-foot golden dragon carried by 100 people from the community. On top of the parade, you will get the chance to see dance groups, stilt walkers, and bands, as well as a Flower Market and even a Miss Chinatown USA pageant. As expected, New York City is also a fantastic place to celebrate and the City puts on different events and shows to signalize the turning of the year. From the Firecracker Ceremony that promises to be spectacular to the Cultural Festival where you will be able to enjoy dance performances and breathtaking drummers. After that, of course, the Parade takes place and the Flower Market. New York is an incredible venue to participate in this ancient tradition.
If you’re looking to have a good meal with your entertainment, then going to the Boston celebrations is an excellent idea. Along with the boisterous parade to scare away evil spirits, the Boston parade is known for serving delicious street food. If you’re looking to go somewhere unexpected then, why not go to Butte, Montana? Although it seems unlikely, this city has been celebrating the Spring Festival since the 1990’s with the traditional parade and a large dragon donated from Taiwan. Not only will you find everything in this traditional parade, but the Mai Wah Museum also holds a yearly reception and a local business puts on an art exhibit. It’s a neat place to celebrate if you’re not fond of crowds and is looking for something a little more intimate.