20 things you didn't know about Chinese New Year - The Guide Liverpool

20 things you didn’t know about Chinese New Year

17/01/2020

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With their authentic Chinese cuisine being inspired by the people, flavours and customs of Tianjin, Chinese culture is at the core of Lu Ban Restaurant. From Thursday January 23rd – Sunday January 26th you can join them to celebrate Chinese New Year in style.


The team at Lu Ban have created beautiful set lunch and dinner menus to mark the occasion and, as food is the basis of Chinese culture, every dish has an associated story, tradition or legend. Tradition and legend, of course, also play a huge part in the celebration of Chinese New Year itself.

Here are 2o things you probably didn’t know about Chinese New Year…

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1 – We may be more familiar with the Cantonese tradition of wishing people good fortune by saying: Gong Hei Fat Choy, but in most Mandarin speaking regions you would say: Guojian Hao which means: “Wishing you well in passing over Nian.”

2 – Nian is the name of a legendary beast who came out of hiding at the beginning of the year, forcing people into their homes as he roamed the land on Chinese New Year’s Eve feeding on crops, villagers – and children!

3 – Chinese New Year traditions and decorations were influenced by this legend after the story tells how villagers discovered the beast was afraid of loud noise and the colour red, so red decorations, roaring lion dances and firecrackers were used to ward Nian away. As a result, Chinese people sometimes call the holiday Guo Nian meaning “passing over Nian” or “overcoming Nian”.

4 – Chinese children receive gifts called Luck Money in red envelopes from older relatives on New Year’s Day. These gifts are given to ward away evil spirits and symbolise the flow of prosperity from one generation to the next.

5 – Chinese New Year is the grandest festival in China and within Chinese communities around the world and is also known as The Spring Festival or Lunar New Year Festival.

6 – There’s no set date because instead of the Solar calendar, the holidays are based on the Lunar calendar which ranges between January 21st to February 20th.

7 – It’s a time of family reunions, happy gatherings and delicious food to honour the rich culture of the Middle Kingdom (the literal translation of China as a country name). Since the fortunes of Chinese people became heavily dependent on agricultural production Chinese New Year blesses the prosperity of the approaching Spring harvest.

8 – It’s believed Chinese New Year or Spring Festival originated in the Shang Dynasty about 4000 years ago with celebrations to worship ancestors, receive gods and ward off plague spirits.

9 – In some regions during Chinese New Year’s Eve, ancestor worship still takes place, with fake money and Yuan Bao – shoe-shaped gold ingots – which are often handed out as souvenirs during celebrations – sometimes burnt to offer deceased family members more money to spend in the afterlife.

10 – In preparation for the Chinese New Year celebration and ritual, people Spring-clean their homes to dust away bad luck, spruce themselves up to meet the coming year afresh and clear spaces to make room for good luck!

10 – In preparation for the Chinese New Year celebration and ritual, people Spring-clean their homes to dust away bad luck, spruce themselves up to meet the coming year afresh and clear spaces to make room for good luck!

11 – During the half a month-long festival, events such as Dragon & Lion parades, fireworks displays, street market food and traditional craft stalls take place alongside family parties and banquets given by relatives.

12 – Chinese New Year’s Eve is also known as Reunion Night with everyone expected home for dinner. In China, with so many people working in the city while older relatives live in rural villages, the amount travelling is known as Chunyun or Spring Migration.

13 – In China, train tickets sold at around 1,000 per second in 2015 during the 60 days running up to Chinese New Year.

14 – Married couples celebrate with the groom’s family as wives traditionally become part of his side of the family and are only viewed as guests of her parents’ family. Years ago, a married woman needed permission to visit her parents during the year – except during the second day of the new year which was the official day for wives to visit their parents.

15 – In general, people avoid negative talk including illness or death during the beginning of the new year, and it’s forbidden to use the unlucky number four, or si (四) unless absolutely necessary as the pronunciation of “four” is similar to that of “death” and considered to bring misfortune.

16 – Western horoscopes have 12 zodiac signs for each month and there are 12 Chinese zodiac signs as well, but an animal is used to represent the entire year, not just each different month. They are Rat (or Mouse), Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

17 – The Rat is the first symbol of the Chinese zodiac because according to myth, the Jade Emperor said the order of the years would be decided by the order the animals arrived at his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride and as they arrived jumped down and landed ahead of The Ox!

18 – The Rat is associated with Earth, new beginnings and the midnight hour. In Chinese culture the rat is a sign of wealth as people believed rats have a habit of collecting items and their ability to reproduce quickly is considered a sign of a happy, content life.

19 – The last month of the Lunar calendar is similar to Advent in the lead up to Christmas in Christianity and is known as “La Month”. The preliminary New Year’s Eve falls on the 23rd day of the La Month (in some southern China regions it’s on the 24th day). Following that day, the 23-day long Spring Festival celebrations begin until the Lantern Festival on the fifth day of the first Lunar month.

20 – During the Lantern Festival, families and organizations from across China and local communities place beautiful lanterns along the streets for people to enjoy, with some quite elaborate creations featuring riddles for visitors to solve and prizes.

Chinese New Year lunch and dinner menus are available at Lu Ban Restaurant from the 23-26 January. Each guest dining from the Chinese New Year menus will receive a lucky red envelope that will contain a surprise (either a gift card with discount for a future visit, or a £10 note!)

Book now at lubanrestaurant.co.uk 

 

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