January 25th, 2020 marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year and the celebration of the Year of the Rat. It is the most important holiday celebrated in China and is celebrated overall by more than 20% of the world. This celebration is rooted in history and has plenty of religious traditions and beliefs. During this celebration, people wish good fortune and health to those around them for the upcoming year.
The Year of the Rat
The rat is the first of the zodiac animals based on the story of the zodiac. In the story, the Jade Emperor determined the order of the zodiac by the arrival of the animals to the party. The rat was the first to arrive as he tricked the kind Ox to giving him a ride to the party on his head, therefore, jumping to the finish line before him. The rat is known as a very cunning and clever animal in the zodiac. It is also said that anyone born during the years of the rat is born with his characteristics. They are very likable by everyone and are optimistic and full of energy. Although their personalities are very kind, they also can be stubborn and lack communication skills which can result in a rude attitude.
Unfortunately for those who are born during the Year of the Rat, this year is considered bad luck for them. Your zodiac year is known as your unluckiest because it is believed that it is easier for demons to capture you. To ward off any bad luck and demons one must wear red clothing or decorate their homes with red to defend themselves. If this is your zodiac animal, protect yourself with some accents of red throughout the year!
5 Fun Facts About Chinese New Year
- Unlike how we celebrate the New Year ever January 1st, Chinese New Year does not fall on a set date. This celebration typically falls between January 21st to February 20. This is also considered the longest Chinese holiday due to the long and exciting preparation for the celebration
- The Spring Festival is celebrated to ward off bad luck or monsters. People set off plenty of loud fireworks to scare them off at midnight. Sometimes these explosions last a few days up to weeks!
- There is a list of taboos during the holiday that supposedly can bring bad luck for the year. Among these taboos are cleaning or saying negative words. Cleaning, sweeping or throwing out garbage can result in “throwing out good luck” from your household. Negative words can bring misfortune to yourself or your loved ones around you.
- Gifts are exchanged during the holiday especially red envelopes given to children from their elders. This represents transferring good fortune from elders to youth.
- There are Chinese New Year desserts that represent different special meanings. Some popular desserts include nian gao, a rice cake that represents success and promotion and rice balls that represent family togetherness.
A Celebration Worldwide
Chinese New Year is celebrated throughout the world with England, USA, and Australia claiming to have the largest festival celebrations outside of Asia. If you are interested in the holiday traditions or want to get a feel of the celebration yourself to check out parades, events or lantern festivals near you. It’s a fun holiday for all people of different cultures and religions everywhere!