15 Days of Chinese New Year 2016

15 Days of Chinese New Year
15 Days of Chinese New Year


      Chinese New Year 2016 is celebrated for fifteen days all over the world. It starts on the first day of the first month in the Chinese Lunar calendar. Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year; it is between January 21 and February 20 in the Gregorian calendar. In the Chinese calendar, the New Years usually falls on the second new moon after winter, marking the beginning of spring, occurring about February 4. The New Year fell on February 19 for 2015 and will be celebrated again next year by February,8 th, 2016.
       In Beijing, the celebrations begin with crowds coming together and watching the lion dance. It is believed to frighten away evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year. Fireworks display is also essential for the celebration. For most Chinese, the New Year is a time for family gatherings, and a lot of preparations need to be done like; making dumplings and buying all the needed decorations to put up at home. A popular Chinese New Year destination is the Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai where millions of people visit for temple fairs and other celebrations. 
Day One
The first day is spent "welcoming the gods of earth and heaven". People will abstain from meat, believed to ensure long life. It is also the day to visit elder members of the family to pay respect. Married members of the family also give angpow (red envelopes containing money) to young members of the family.
Day Two
This is the day for Chinese people to pray to all the gods and ancestors wishing for a luckier year ahead, also the time for married women to visit their birth parents, since traditionally; married daughters may not have a lot of opportunity to visit their families.
It is also believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs; this is when people are extra kind to dogs and feed them extra special morsels of food, including to stray ones.
Day Three and Four
The third day is known as the red mouth day, where it is believed that evil spirits roam the earth and house-visiting is discouraged. This is the day reserved for families to pay respect to their deceased relative for the past three years and will continue on the fourth day, dedicated to grave-visiting instead. All business establishments are closed during these days as well.
Day Five
The fifth day is believed to be the birth of the "god of wealth" and people stay at home to welcome the deity. It is also believed that leaving the house for too long is unwise, just in case the "god of wealth" pays them a visit. However, business establishments are reopened on this day.
Day Six
The Chinese people visit friends and relatives freely on this day. It is also the time to visit temples to pray for health and good fortune.
Day Seven
The seventh day is believed to be the birth of all human beings. Thus, people eat uncut noodles to promote longevity (longer life!). This is the day where common men grows a year older, and is celebrated by eating certain food that has symbolic meanings enhancing health. People also eat raw fish which is called "Yusheng" in Chinese that has a homonym that means "increase in a bundance", thus, eating raw fish brings prosperity and abundance.
Day Eight
The eight day is believed to be the birthday of the Jade Emperor. The Emperor is identified as the "ruler of all heavens" and the "emperor of the universe". Families gather for a reunion dinner to celebrate the deity's birth which leads to midnight prayer to the god of heaven.
Day Nine
This is a day to pay offerings to the Jade Emperor. Tea, incense, vegetables, roast pig and gold paper is served to pay respect to the Emperor of Heaven.
Day Ten to Day Twelve 
This is the day for more feasting. Friends and family should be invited for dinner.
Day Thirteen
This is the day dedicated to the Chinese god of war. He represents strength, justice, loyalty and truth. It is said that before his death he won a hundred battles, which is also the goal of Chinese businesses, to survive and prosper.
Also on this day, people eat vegetarian food, simple rice congee and mustard greens to cleanse the digestive system, from eating so much food in the past weeks.
Day Fourteen 
This day is the preparation for the lantern festival. People go out to shop for decorations and things needed to create lanterns to put up in their homes. Colorful papers with Chinese riddles are hanged on doors and windows.
Day Fifteen 
This marks the end of the Chinese New Year. This day is celebrated as the Festival of Lanterns, and people go out to the streets carrying colorful lanterns under the full moon. People eat Yuanxiao(stuffed dumplings) on this day to symbolize togetherness in the family.

Although time has passed and things are changing today, the custom of the Chinese New Year is still celebrated with fervor just the way the ancestors have taught.

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