Friday, February 16th, 2018 is Chinese New Year, with this year being the Year of the Dog. If you live or work in China, here are some tips on how and where to celebrate the 2018 Chinese New Year while abroad. As one of the most important holidays in all of China, there are many ways people celebrate all around the country as they reflect on a year of hard work. They all use this time to wish for a lucky, prosperous year ahead, punctuated by a time to take off work and relax with friends and family.
Check out these common celebrations for the Chinese New Year.
You’ll see a lot of red decorations around this time, from lanterns to flags to posters. As the dominating color for homes, businesses, streets, parades and festivals, red symbolizes good luck in Chinese culture. And because this is the Year of the Dog, you will encounter many photos, paintings, dolls and decorations bearing the dog’s likeness.
Parades, Festivals and Celebrations
Celebrating culture is a huge component to Chinese New Year. You’ll see a lot of firework displays, dragon and lion dances, musical performances, parades and imperial performances – all at temple fairs and festivals around the country. In North China, you’ll see Rice Sprout Song performances, which is a traditional Chinese dance whereby performers dress in brightly-colored outfits.
Setting off firecrackers is a popular tradition in particular, as it symbolizes the prosperity sure to come with the New Year. The louder they get, the luckier the recipients will be that year.
This is a time for people young and old to return to the nest, taking part in reunion dinners with their families. This is thought to be the most meaningful dinner of the year, featuring all generations seated around the table to take part in tasty food as they each look back on the past year and share their dreams for the upcoming one.
Gift giving is a mainstay of Chinese New Year. The most popular? Cash! People place cash in red envelopes for luck, given mainly to children and senior citizens to ensure good fortune for the rest of the year.
Like any celebration, food is a major component. Each type of food means something different. For example, fish symbolizes a surplus of money and good fortune. Other common dishes to consume during Chinese New Year include dumplings, spring rolls, sweet rice balls, and rice cakes.
Many people head to temple to pray during Chinese New Year. Longhua Temple in Shanghai, for instance, is the city’s largest and brings thousands of worshippers to its doors during this time.
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