Every year around this time the Chinese calendar turns over, marking a new beginning and one of the biggest celebrations of the year. And unlike that other new year that happens on December 31, Chinese New Year lasts 15 days and it starts this year on February 5. From food to fireworks, here are some traditions that will help you ring in the year of the pig the right way.
A Big Dinner
The festival meal is a large, delicious affair and an opportunity to get together with family members you’ve been missing throughout the year. It includes plenty of dumplings, whole fish, cured meat and two foot-long noodles called changshou mian or “longevity noodles.”
Every child’s favorite part of Chinese New Year, red envelopes gifted from older family members are full of money and they’re meant to symbolize good luck and protection from evil spirits. The red envelope tradition or hóngbāo isn’t just part of the new year celebration, it’s part of birthdays and weddings.
Red Everything Else
The color red symbolizes wealth and good fortune and can be found decorating homes in the form of everything from lanterns to flowers.
Open Your Windows
This is done to let push the old year out and let the new year in. It’s yet another way to bring yourself good luck in the coming months.
The 15-day celebration opens and closes with fireworks displays that can be absolutely massive. The lantern festival on the final day features an especially bright night as the fireworks are accompanied by thousands of lighting homes.
So get yourself some dumplings and some fireworks (IF IT’S LEGAL) and have a happy year of the pig everyone!