Chinese New Year 2024 at Spark: Year of the Dragon
Written by Jayne Loo on 9th February 2024
Happy Chinese New Year! 恭喜发财！
Did you know that Chinese New Year is celebrated in different countries around the world?
Chinese New Year was first celebrated in the Shang Dynasty, 3500 years ago in China and soon spread across countries with high Chinese populations.
It is now celebrated in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and among other countries! The Celebration stretches across for 15 days as it begins on the day of the new moon and ends on a full moon or ‘满月 mǎn yuè’.
How do you know when is Chinese New Year?
The amount of days on a Chinese calendar is not fixed every year. A Chinese calendar consists of 6 short months (29 days) and 6 long months (30 days), in total the year only has 354 days instead of the typical 365 days in the Gregorian calendar.
What do we do on Chinese New Year?
On the day before, we would usually have a big family reunion (团圆饭 tuán yuán fan) with traditional dishes like Yee Shang, Chicken, Fish and Mushrooms. Each dish represents a blessing for the year.
Fish – Increase in Prosperity
Chinese Dumplings – Increase Wealth
Whole Chicken – Brings you luck
Sweet Rice Balls – Family bond/togetherness
We celebrate Chinese New Year to steer away the old year and bring the new year forward full of luck and prosperity.
We also wear red on the first day to symbolise luck, loyalty and happiness. We do not sweep or clean our house on the first day, it would be done before the first day otherwise we are welcoming bad luck to the year.
We receive red packet envelopes as a sign of luck and good fortune. Firecrackers will also be released to scare away the evil spirits and welcome the new year.
Most importantly, lion dances are an essential during Chinese New Year to bless businesses and bring luck and wealth.
Simple Chinese New Year Greetings to learn:
- 恭喜发财 Gōngxǐ fācái – Wishing you wealth and luck!
- 年年有余 Nián nián yǒuyú – May abundance is upon you!
- 身体健康 Shēntǐ jiànkāng – May you have great health!
- 新年快乐 Xīn nián kuàilè – Happy New Year!
- 心想事成 Xīn xiǎng shì chéng – May your wishes come true!
- 万事如意 Wàn shì rú yì – May everything good comes to you!
- 财源滚滚 Cái yuán gǔn gǔn – May wealth come to you!
Do you know your own Chinese zodiac?
There are 12 Chinese zodiacs that rotate every 12 years.
Each animal represents a different element.
People born in the year of the Dragon ‘龙’ along with famous celebrities like Bruce Lee, John Lennon, Adele are known to be intelligent and confident. The Dragon is fifth in line of the rotation.
Jackie Chan starred in a movie named CZ12 《十二生肖》; pinyin: Shí-èr Shēngxiāo) in 2012 (11 years ago!!) about hunting down stolen artefacts of 12 bronze heads resembling the heads of the Chinese zodiac animals.
The movie also features a theme song titled ‘十二生肖’, performed by LeeHom Wang.