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Chinese New Year 2015

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If there is one holiday you cannot miss in Hong Kong, it is Chinese New Year. Also known as Lunar New Year, this holiday is widely celebrated throughout the region. Celebrating Chinese New Year may involve going to Victoria Harbour to watch the 20-minute firework display or watching the International Chinese New Year Night Parade with floats and costumed dancers.

Traditions for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a big time for travel, and seeing family is a major part of the festivities. This is also a popular time to visit local temples and pay attention to superstitions. The idea is that you will need luck for the upcoming year, and you certainly do not want to start the year with a bad mark from the deities.

Horse races are also quite popular for Chinese New year. More than 100,000 fans watch the races on the third day of the New Year. The third day of the New Year is also known as “red mouth,” during which married people are advised to stay away from their in-laws.

Other days throughout the festivities have meaning. Some days are intended for eating no meat, and others are associated more with wealth than others. For instance, watching fireworks is said to drive away any evil.

After visiting a temple, it is commonplace for many families to offer a sacrifice to ancestors. This is a form of worship that shows respect and conveys that the family misses those who are now deceased.

The feeling of cleanliness that decluttering your home brings is also associated with welcoming the new year. Many Hong Kong families will spend a day before the celebration cleaning out the home.

The Chinese New Year parades often include dragon and lion dancers. The costumes are elaborate and represent significant aspects of Chinese mythology. They are certainly not to be missed.

The next step often involves decorating for Chinese New Year. This includes use of the color red, lanterns, door gods and much more. Paper cutouts are often found on windows, and they are usually elaborate representations of Chinese mythology and life. Images of health, fruit and animals also represent good luck and plentiful bounty.

In some areas, firecrackers are banned. Still, many regions still allow individuals to set off firecrackers as a way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The loud noises that these firecrackers make are intended to scare away any potential bad spirits. Those who are not allowed to use firecrackers often attend a professional firework show.

The final day of the Chinese New Year festivities is also known as the Lantern Festival. It is the end of the Spring Festival, and it often involves sending lit lanterns into the sky or into a body of water. It is a symbolic action, but also a joyous one.

The Year of the Sheep

Chinese astrology is based on both astronomy and Chinese philosophy. According to Chinese astrology, the sheep is one of the most well-liked animals.  Those born in the year of the sheep are said to be polite, clever and kind individuals. Of course, this year is also associated with goats and rams.

This year’s lucky numbers include 3, 4 and 9. Numbers to avoid in the Year of the Sheep are 6, 7 and 8. If you intend to send flowers, the lucky choices for 2015 include primroses, carnations and alice flowers. Lucky colors include green, red and purple. Steer clear of gold and coffee-colored gifts and flowers this year.

No matter your personal astrology sign, this is sure to be a bountiful year with many positive attributes to look back on in future years.

Symbolic Food for Chinese New Year

Most foods served on Chinese New Year have symbolic meanings. For instance, many Chinese New Year celebrations include a communal hot pot. This dish symbolizes the coming together of a group to enjoy a delicious meal together.

Chicken is commonly served for the celebration, typically because most families can afford a boiled chicken no matter how well off they happen to be.

Fish is regularly served as part of Chinese New Year because its pronunciation sounds much like the pronunciation for the word “surplus.”

Dumplings like Jao gok are served because they look like gold ingots from ancient China. Other types of dumplings are also served because making the filling is much like packing luck into a package.

The most popular fruit during Chinese New Year is the mandarin. The word for “mandarin” is similar to the word for “luck” in Cantonese. If you are sending a gift hamper full of fruit to a loved one this year, including mandarins is a great idea.

Fa Gao, which is a steamed cake, is intended to promote prosperity. This dish is also known as a Prosperity Cake.

Finally, seeds from melons, sunflowers, pumpkins and other produce are symbolic of fertility for the coming year. Eggs hold the same meaning.

Great Gifts for Chinese New Year

Gift giving is customary on the days surrounding Chinese New Year, especially if somebody is hosting you for festivities. For instance, flowers are one of the best choices. Many flower markets are open during this time so that you can start the new year with a fresh bouquet. Of course, you can also order them ahead of time online to be prompt.

  

Of course, many shops will be closed during this time of the year. For this reason, you might find it helpful to order gifts online. Gift hampers HK are great choices for hosts and hostesses. Sweets and fruits are common gifts to include in your gift hamper. Remember to load up on mandarins and stay away from pears!

Lai See, gifts in red envelopes, are commonplace throughout Hong Kong. These small envelopes typically contain money. The colors, red and gold, symbolize prosperity and luck for the future. You might gift Lai See to your doorman, employee, child or server. A single note of HK$100 is common to give to service workers.

Ultimately, Chinese New Year lasts for about 15 days and incorporates many elements of Hong Kong culture and fun.

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