Sunday, 10 February 2013

Chinese New Year

Gong Hee Fatt Choy

Now, the spelling and pronunciation may change from place to place but the sentiment does not. Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year and that is how to say the greeting. 

Chinese New Year is extremely important here in Darwin. We are proud of our Chinese history and the customs and lifestyles that go with that. Ceremonies began yesterday and will continue for two weeks. Chinese people have lived in this region since the 1880s and in recent times many university students of Chinese heritage have come here to study. We have an active Chung Wah Society, a temple, and a Chinese museum. Our Chung Wah Society has several Lion Dance troupes who will perform ceremonies around town. Girls are included in the teams but do not perform as part of the lion.
Here is a link you might like.

This is the Year of the Snake and is 4711 on the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year is the main Chinese festival of the year and is not a religious event. Traditionally celebrations last for fifteen days, ending on the date of the full moon. In China the public holiday lasts for three days and this is the biggest celebration of the year.

The Chinese calendar is made up of a cycle of twelve years, each named after an animal. The animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. I know I am a rat just as I know I am a Leo. If anyone asked I would say that I do not believe in any of that stuff!

This photo from last year shows two lions entering a local business.
See the musicians, including girls.
Over a sixth of the people in the world celebrate Chinese New Year. Customs vary in different parts of the world, but everywhere the main idea is the same. It is a time to wish everyone peace and prosperity in the coming year. This is a time when families get together to celebrate and is also a special time to remember members of the family who have died. Many people will visit the cities of their grandparents to honour them. Just before New Year families buy presents, decorations, food, new clothes and people have their hair cut. Houses are cleaned from top to bottom. The aim is to sweep out any bad luck from the old year and clear the way for good luck. A red envelope is used to hold a gift of money, ensuring financial prosperity.

Here is one legend about Chinese New Year: The celebration is dedicated to a terrible mythical monster named Niam who preyed on the villagers and terrorised them. A wise old man advised the villagers to make loud noises with drums and fireworks to frighten away the demon Niam. Then he advised the villagers that Niam was afraid of the colour red, so if they placed red scrolls around their doors then Niam would not enter. This was successful and the villagers began to celebrate The Passing Of Niam. Later this celebration became the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year.

For more information you could follow this link.

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