Happy Chinese New Year, Its the Year of the Horse

Here is another opportunity to start off the New Year in a big way!

On Friday January 31, 2014  millions will be joining in the two week long celebration  to mark the start of year 4712 of  the  Chinese lunar calendar.   This is the most important Chinese traditional holiday celebration and the only holiday they have. Chinese will take plane, bus and train to rejoin their families.

Red envelopes are handed out for prosperity and good luck 

History tells that Buddha gathered animals together on New Year’s day and 12 of them came.  He then named each year after each of the 12 animals and proclaimed that people born under the animal’s year would have its characteristics and traits borrowing some of the animal’s personality.  This year is the year of the horse! In this case, those born under the year of the horse are  perceptive, cheerful, good with their hands and talented.

Fireworks in China Celebrating the New Year

Fireworks in China Celebrating the New Year

Lots of firecrackers will be sent of for good luck on the first day. 15 days after the start of the festivities, on February 6th, it will all come to a close with the lantern festival.  This is done at night with beautiful  lantern displays and a parade of children carrying lanterns.  Keep in mind that this is a family reunion, sharing traditions, good food, and a time for thanksgiving.

In China, depending upon where you are, several different customs will play out to welcome the New Year.  Beijing’s celebration spirit truly comes out at its parks and temples which exhibit amazing displays.   Guangzhou, being the flower city lines up streets with a fabulous flowers and Bonsai’s, and everyone will be handing out red envelopes for good luck.  It also hosts this time of year the international flower festival.  Harbin is most known for its ice and snow festival that features Ice Lantern Garden Party.  If you red is your color, the city of Pingyao goes all out with this good luck Chinese color on lanterns all over .  All in all, it is about getting together as a family, wishing each other the best for the new year, and remembering ancestors.

Pingyao boasts red lanterns all over the city

Pingyao boasts red lanterns all over the city

If you plan to go to China this time of year, keep in mind transportation is chaotic and extremely busy.  Your best bet to travel the country  might be taking a plane  since tickets are expensive and most will shy away from the prices.  Restaurants will have limited hours and reservations are encouraged.  Tourist attractions will remain open, and  you will be able to enjoy fireworks just about any and everywhere!

If China is not in your plans this year, be sure to enjoy your local Chinese New Year celebration.  Try incorporating some traditions and enjoy the fun discovering a new culture can be!

Happy Chinese New Year!  Good fortune to all!

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