This year, the Chinese New Year falls on the 26th of January. As it is the most important occasion in the Chinese calendar, tradition follows that all houses be swept clean before New Year’s Eve to be out with the old and in with the new. Window panes are painted red with paper cutouts and Spring Couplets which hold words of happiness, longevity and wealth, and each household prepares enough food good enough for a couple of days.
At the stroke of midnight, a fireworks display bids the old year goodbye, along with all its bad spirits. All doors and windows are kept open to help usher out the old year. The best part comes on the morning of New Year’s day when relatives and neighbors exchange gifts and money. The Chinese believe that the New Year is a fresh start and so all broken relationships should be forgotten and made to start anew. So if you resolve to forgive, there’s no better day to start than on New Year’s Day. Fifteen days after, the lantern festival takes place and this is where the famous dragon dance we all see on TV or in our local Chinatowns takes place.
Tourist attractions abound in China, and some of the most recent include the very modern Bird’s Nest National Stadium, Water Cube National Swimming Center and the China National Grand Theatre, centrepieces of the recent 2008 Beijing Olympics. Travel back to ancient China when you visit the Great Wall and Forbidden City or take a stroll in Behai Park or the Beijing Grand View Garden. Tiananmen Square will surely entertain you, as will the Chinese Revolutionary Museum, the Chinese History Museum and the Great Hall of People.
If you’re traveling with your kids, visit Hong Kong Disneyland to enjoy the festivities.
So if you haven’t begun sweeping, we suggest you get started on sorting out your trash before the New Year. After all, nobody likes to lug his garbage around!
Kung Hei Fat Choi everyone!