Saturday, February 16, 2013

Chinese New Year

February 10th was the start of Chinese New Year- 2013 is the year of the snake!

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 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 is a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. Much like the Western New Year (January 1st), the biggest celebration is on the eve of the holiday. At the turn of the new year, firework displays are put on throughout the city.  The week following, most people have off work and many families vacation.
Traditions are different throughout China, but some are similar and include:

New Year's Eve Dinner

The New Year's Eve dinner is the most important dinner for Chinese people. Normally this is the family reunion dinner, especially for those with family member away from home. In the New Year's Eve dinner,  fish will typically be served. Dumplings are the most important dish in northern China. These two dishes mean prosperity.  The majority of Chinese will have New Year's Eve dinner at home instead of restaurant.


Fireworks are used to drive away the evil in China. Right after the 12:00PM of the New Year's Eve, fireworks will be launched to celebrate the coming of the New Year as well as to drive away the evil. It is believed that the person who launches the first fireworks in the New Year will get good luck.

Shou Sui

After the New Year's Eve dinner, family member will try to stay awake during the night.  According to tales and legends, there was a mythical beast called the "Nian". At the night of New Year's Eve, the "Nian" will come out to harm people, animals, and proprieties. Later people found that the "Year" is afraid of the color red, fire, and loud sound. People will launch fireworks, make fires, and stay awake the whole night to fend of the "Nian."

Red Envelopes

Red envelopes with money, ranging from one to a thousand Chinese Yuan, are given by adults, especially married couples and the elderly, to young children in the New Year days. It was believed that the money in the red packet will suppress the evil from the children, keep the children healthy, and give them a long life.

New Year Markets

During the New Year days, a temporarily market will be set up, mainly selling New Year goods, such as clothing, fireworks, decoration, foods, small arts, etc. The market is usually decorated with a large amount of lanterns.


A few days before the Chinese New Year, people will do a complete cleaning of their home and housewares, getting rid of the old and welcoming the new.


After the cleaning, families decorate the house to welcome the New Year. Most of the decorations are red, which means good luck. 

For our Chinese New Year, we ordered take-out from our local Chinese restaurant.  We gave the kids red envelopes and Lena wore one of her Chinese dresses to church on Sunday, which would have been New Year's Day.  Last night we were invited by a friend to a Chinese New Year celebration, where we got to meet many families who have adopted from China.  Evan, Lena, and I went because Rick was out of town.  My mom and step-dad stayed and watched the other kids at our house.   We had a great Chinese meal, got to meet a lot of new people, and the kids got to see some fireworks and run around with some sparklers.   Looks like we may have a fun Chinese New Year tradition for years to come!

Lena was a little nervous at first, but made friends quickly after dinner.


 Meeting new people and visiting with some who we have known through friends.  I got to meet a girl who was adopted right before aging out.  She was advocated for on a group I co-moderate, so that was special!  

The beautiful kids!  There were seven adopted from China, 6 girls and 1 boy, as well as a little girl adopted from Korea.  Evan said to me "Mom are the plain kids going to get their picture taken too?"   LOL!  He was referencing himself and the other biological children.  So we then took a few pictures with all the kids who were still in the house and not outside.  Lena had a couple new friends by the end of the night! :)


 Time to go!  Lena in her fancy coat from her nana. :)

1 comment:

  1. Fun times!!!! Lena has grown up SOOO much. Just precious!