Archive for the ‘Chinese New Year’ Category
The biggest celebration in the Chinese calendar gets under way as the Spring Festival begins.
Throughout China, the people are dashing around making last-minute preparations for the Year of the Snake. The festival in itself is more elaborate than Christmas in the West and for many families throughout this densely populated continent (China’s population is over 1.3 billion) it represents the only time of year that all the generations will have the opportunity to gather together to remember their ancestors, share stories and clear the way for the following 12-months.
The Chinese lunar calendar this year is represented by the Snake and it is therefore no surprise that the theme of many of the gifts, decorations, events and even food and drink (snake wine?!!!) are connected with the snake on some level.
From Bvlgari snake watches at a not inconsiderable £3000.00 a piece to handmade red paper snakes and performances of ‘Madame White Snake’ at the Peking Opera House it’s fairly difficult to escape the theme this year.
There are of course some fascinating events taking place around the Country and one of the most notably is the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.
This year marks the 29th anniversary of this event which begins early January and continues until early February officially but it can be seen from mid December until often late February providing the very cold weather conditions continue.
Some of the best ice-sculptors in the world gather together in fashioning this beautiful winter wonderland featuring ice palaces which reach into the sky, some of which are several storeys high. There are some which incorporate ice slides and even a working escalator.
The best of the exhibits feature structures including mazes, bars and hotels, 1500 traditionally carved ice lanterns and popular entertainment in the form of ice skating, skiing, ice golf and ice archery to name but a few.
If you have the opportunity to visit this exhibition, let us have some pictures and we will be happy to feature them on our website.
This year sees the start of the Chinese New Year on 10th February 2013. Celebrating the Year of the Snake.
Beijing being the capital of China is the center of the celebrations for the City and events include Carnivals, operatic performances, acrobats and traditional tea culture displays. Also, there will be local crafts, dancing and local and international cuisine.
Ditan Park festival houses the Temple of Earth which is a large square two storey building with a large moat which is traditionally decorated with Dragons (ying) and Phoenix (yang) and surrounded by substantial trees thought to be upwards of 300 years old. This is a fantastic place to spend the day with your family enjoying some of the rich and varied entertainment on offer.
At midnight the skies over Beijing will be lit up with stunning pyro to welcome in the New Lunar year and ward off those evil spirits.
The most popular and arguably the largest event celebrating the Spring Festival is the Cathay Pacific Chinese New Year Night Parade, which will be held on 10th February kicking off 15-days of celebrations.
Day one starts with this years annual parade ‘Theme’ is ‘World City – World Party’ which will include illuminated, highly decorated floats accompanied by spectacular international performances during this carnival atmosphere including a Shaolin Kung Fu demonstration and Nordic stilt walkers (mmmm – a little random!!).
The second day will see a spectacular Lunar New Year fireworks display. Watched by more than ½ a million spectators and featuring no fewer than 40,000 fireworks including shells, firecrackers and mines, this 23 minute display is going to be pretty special.
Singaporeans welcome in the Year of the Snake with the annual Chingay Parade which features around 2000 performers from a variety of clubs and schools bedecked in highly coloured costumes giving the parade its growing reputation as Asia’s answer to Mardi Gras.
The parade theme is ‘Fire in Snow’ celebrating the true strength of the human spirit when faced with adversity and taking on the challenges head on.
The main event on 22nd and 23rd of February promises a truly spectacular welcome for the New Year. Lion dancers, firecrackers, fire eaters and dance performances brings the people together with their families and loved ones to look forward to a prosperous New Year.
One of the most popular events is held on the Marina Bay floating platform where the area comes alive once again with street performances, music, shopping and gaming, lanterns and of course a spectacular fireworks display.
I know, I did a double take when I learnt that San Francisco was one of the top places in the WORLD to celebrate the Chinese New Year too. Furthermore, San Francisco is recognised as holding the largest Asian celebration on any other continent.
Following on from the Gold Rush of the mid 1800’s there was a massive influx of Chinese immigrants hoping to make their fortune bringing along with them the Chinese New Year traditions to the USA and amalgamated the traditional parade with their more customary celebrations to establish in 1860 one of the largest non-Asian celebrations in the World and it continues to this day.
They hold a Miss Chinatown Pageant to choose a representative for this beautiful City. The event also delivers everyone attending the chance to involve themselves in the making of kites and lanterns, learn about Chinese symbolism and calligraphy and some nifty dance moves too.
The main feature, the parade will end with a 200m+ long Golden Dragon which takes over 100 men and women from local Martial Arts group ‘White Crane’ to carry and move around the gathered crowds. Accompanied by marching bands, this is a spectacular event offering you the chance to have a taste of the real China.
Europe’s largest and arguably the best celebrations take place in London, naturally!
Every year, the festivities grow as thousands of Londoners and visitors descend on the Capital to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The party kicks off with a spectacular New Year’s parade which makes its way through the city until it reaches Trafalgar Square where the President of Chinatown will carry out the ‘Dotting of the Eye’ ceremony which will bring the dragons and lions to life.
At 5:55 on 10/02/2013 a stunning fireworks display will mark the end of the first day of the Chinese Spring Festival celebrations.
If you plan to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Snake or indeed would like to have a few fireworks to help your family to ward off the evil spirits, we are open 7-days a week and have everything from small fountains to full display packs and we would be delighted to see you. Remember, we hold the largest number of 1.3g barrages in the UK and they range from £3.95 to £89.95.
See you soon and in the meantime ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy ‘ which means “Best wishes and Congratulations and we wish you all a prosperous and good year.
The Chinese New Year, also referred to as ‘Spring Festival’ takes place within the first couple of months of the Gregorian calendar and is meant to signify the end of the Winter and the welcoming of the Spring.
After all the Christmas decorations have been taken down, the house is cleaned thoroughly in preparation for the Chinese New Year. Once cleaned, the house is decorated with brightly coloured lanterns, cherry blossoms, orange trees and lots and lots of red all around. In the run up to the Chinese New Year, classic Spring Festival music is played all around in public places. The most popular is the sound of traditional bowed stringed instruments like the Erhu and Gaohu.
The most important facet of the Chinese New Year celebrations for families across China is the reunion dinner held on New Years Eve. All the family from children to grand-parents, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces traditionally all gather together at either the parent’s house or the eldest brother’s home. Nowadays, they sometime gather in a top class restaurant.
A typically very lavish affair, dinner will include a multitude of courses which include Chicken, Pork and Fish.
In Malaysia, the dinner will begin with a traditional raw fish salad which everyone will toss with chopsticks and it is said that the higher the salad goes, the more fortunes will grow in the coming year.
The giving of gifts is extremely important and most commonly will include boxes of oranges or a live orange tree. If you are a child, elderly relative or a single adult, you will expect to receive ANG POH. These are the little red envelopes featured in a certain bank’s advertising campaign which will contain a crisp new bank-note. A child of a large family with lots of aunties and uncles could potentially receive a great deal of money from their little red envelopes.
The Chinese New Year festivities continue for 15 days and culminate in Chap Goh Mei (meaning 15th night) and again will be celebrated with a family meal and music in a similar vein to the reunion dinner on Chinese New Year.
Legend has it that the Chinese New Year celebrations started with a fight against mythical beast the Nian who was said to come out at New Year to eat the livestock, crops and even un-suspecting villagers. However, Nian came across a child wearing red and fled into the night. The villagers determined that Nian must be afraid of the colour red and thereafter, as New Year approached the villagers would hang red lanterns and red scrolls and light firecrackers to drive Nian out of town.
During the run up to the holiday, all the open air markets across China are packed with home-makers stocking up on gifts, material, flowers, toys and of course fireworks.
China is of course synonymous with fireworks so it is no surprise that the celebrations will include pyro of every kind. Of course they will be bright, loud and often red in colour to continue the tradition of ensuring that Nian does not return. Firecrackers have been banned in some more built up areas for safety reason at one time or another but some have since relaxed the ban in more rural areas.
Flowers, which play an integral part in the Chinese New Year celebrations also have special meaning:
Plum blossom – lucky
Kumquat and Narcissus – prosperity
Sunflower – a good year
Aubergine blossom – heals sickness
Chom Mon Plant – tranquillity.
2013 is the Year of the Snake.
For now, gěi nǐ bài nián 给你拜年。 which means, Happy New Year to you.