February 18th is the Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade.

The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-yearcycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors.

At the family meal some dishes served have superstitious qualities: Ginkgo nuts represent gold ingots, black moss seaweed indicates prosperity and chicken, fish and duck are desirable additions to the feast. Dried bean curd is for happiness and luck. Lotus seed is seen as a fertility symbol. Whole fish with its head and tail intact represents togetherness.

The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.

The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year’s Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast called "surrounding the stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honours the past and present generations. The older people in the family usually give the youngsters a red bag in which is placed a sum of money. A symbol of good luck and bright blessing in the new year. Finally there are the fireworks . . . !





8 thoughts on “THE YEAR OF THE PIG

  1. Hi Laird,  I had alot of catching up to do here.  Your last half a dozen entries have been educational and entertaining.  Many perspectives which I don\’t get anywhere else.  I hope all is well at the castle.  Ron

  2. enjoyed catching up around here tonight ..interesting post on the Chinese new year ! it reminded me that I should have sent a card to a friend in China ,alas too late now 😦
    have a good weekend

  3. How are you?My friend?Thank you for propagandizing our culture.
    Today is Spring Festival\’s Eve.
    Beautiful fireworks are  flaring now out of the window.
    May you have a visit to China one day^^

  4. Evening yer lairdship…
    well read your previous blog and er… are you sure the sofa isn\’t for sleeping on? hmmm need to rectify that one
    There\’s so much tradition in the Chinese New Year and it seems to be a wonderful celebration, I wonder what happened to our own New Year that seems to be just a time to get completely drunk for most people and nothing more… I suppose we all have our own ideas about its meaning.
    anyway, hope you\’re weekend is going well.
    Eth 🙂 xxx

  5. Better to find out where you stand once n for all, than forever wonder did you do the right thing. I doubt I\’d stay friends with anyone I thought for one minute was false… but don\’t mind admitting when I\’m wrong.

  6. Laird as always, interesting and informative…I love your castle pictures too, I imagine you have visited many of them. I think an interests in the past gives us curiosity about such things as castles and light houses… The sheer number of them and how they still lend an identity of towns even countries is so interesting.   I smiled at the fish with head and tail…a symbol of family togetherness…and the lotus seed…(they must only let them eat ONE in china)… anyway thank you …I enjoy your perspective on so many things…

  7. Good Morning,
    Thanks for the info on the Chinese New Year which I enjoyed; I have a few Chinese acquaintances, so this information is useful and educational.

    Hello, good morning, it\’s interesting reading about your Chinese New Year entries, I\’ve learn something from it too, like the cycle of the year, thanks for sharing. Have a good day! Mei

Comments are closed.