People born in the Year of the Rabbit are talented and affectionate. They are admired and trusted by others. Though fond of gossip, they are tactful, kind, wise and good-natured. Most compatible with those born in the Year of the Goat, Pig or Dog.
This is the most important holiday in China – like Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving combined. It has been celebrated for over 4000 years. The actual date
is not fixed because China used a lunar (moon-based) calendar. It’s on the first day of the first moon and falls between 21 January and 19 February. The exact date used to be announced by the Emperor himself. As the Son of Heaven, only the Emperor had the right to set the calendar. It was a major event because farmers planted their crops according to the Emperor’s calendar. If the calendar was correctly set and the growing season was successful, there would be plenty of food.
Chinese families spent weeks getting ready for New Year. They would clean house, pay bills, bathe, have their hair cut and put on new clothes, usually red in colour. In the old days, many poor people could afford to eat meat only once a year. They would save their copper coins and go hungry the rest of the year for this special occasion. The main meal was eaten at a round table. If someone was absent, a place would be set for him anyway in front of an empty chair.
The holiday is celebrated in much the same way now. Special foods include rice cakes, pork, noodles, fish and dumplings stuffed with chives and pork. There is a special dessert called Eight Treasure Pudding which signifies family union. It is made with sticky rice, lotus seeds, red dates, dried candied fruits and red bean paste. In the afternoon, people visit family and friends and exchange gifts. Children are given lucky money in red envelopes.
On the streets there may be a lion dance or a dragon parade, accompanied by beating drums, cymbals, dancers, acrobats, jugglers, and musicians. Firecrackers are supposed to scare away evil spirits. In the evenings, colourful lanterns dot the storefronts and fireworks light up the sky.
Chinese New Year celebrates family and friends, and symbolises good luck and a new beginning. It is the most important holiday in China.
Chinese Zodiac relates each calendar year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle. The twelve animals are the following: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse. Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Legend has it the twelve animals were chosen by Buddha.
Last year (2010) was the year of the Tiger and next year (2012) will be the year of the Dragon.
Chinese New Year period ends with the Lantern Festival, the fifteenth day of the month.
In honor of Chinese New Year, I want to re-share with you a birthday card I made using a Lantern on it.
The above card was done with Whisper White Card Stock combined with Melon Mambo Card Stock. For the lantern I used the Stampin’ Up! Circle Circus Samp Set, which by the way I LOVE! The punch called Modern Label Punch was used for the “Happy Birthday” greeting. The lantern was put together with punch outs from the Designer Label Punch, Modern Label Punch and black button thread. You could change out the “Happy Birthday” for “Happy New Year!”
Thanks for stopping by and, “Gung Hay Fat Choy!”