People throughout the Chinese world were partying right up until midnight yesterday to ring in the Chinese New Year.
Based on the luni-solar calendar, Chinese New Year, or the lunar new year, varies from year to year, this year it happened to fall on January 23, and this year is a special year, the year of the water dragon.
Each year is celebrated with a difference character of the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of the Water Dragon happens only six decades or so and according to Chinese mythology the water cools down the world’s dragons leading them to step back and look at things with a clear head.
A woman in Qingdao said, “In this year the dragon will jump and the tiger will leap,” one woman says. “People will become more prosperous every day. They will work hard and succeed. Every Chinese person loves the dragon year.”
A man in Qingdao added, “I hope that the Year of the Dragon will bring a good harvest,” a man tells us and goes on: “That it will bring stability; that the world economy will improve greatly and that it will not be a year for pessimism.”
Chinese astrology says that those born in the dragon year are fearless, ambitious, passionate and self-assured but also conceited and slow to take help from others.
The red colored lanterns and firecrackers during the holiday come about from a myth about a mythical beast called Nian that would eat livestock, crops, and children. One day the beast saw a child wearing red and ran away. Ever since then, every new year to protect themselves, people would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors and use firecrackers to frighten away the terrible beast.
The festivities will end 15 days later with the lantern festival.
On the day of the lantern festival a full moon can be seen in the sky, and people make lanterns and scribble riddles on them and hang them like the moon hangs in the sky. It is custom to solve the riddles and eat on Lantern Festival.
Many Chinese celebrate Valentine’s day during the festival as they sometimes take place around the same time.