Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year! Here are 10 interesting facts about the Year of the Goat and how the New Year is usually celebrated.
1. Year of the Goat personality
Persons who are usually born in this year are believed to have calm, gentle and friendly persons. Creative, honest, resilient and have that “soft on the outside, strong on the inside” spirit about them. If this is your year, you are pretty cool!
2. Paper Cutouts
These are usually placed on windows before the Spring festival facing north and south. These cutouts usually represent farming, rural life, myths, legends, flowers, birds and Zodiac signs. They are done as a way of expressing the hope for a better life. Plus this is a good way to decorate your apartment or college dorm and bring some color and life in this dull winter!
3. Giving out Red envelopes
These red envelopes are usually given out after dinner and are believed to bring luck because red is a lucky color. The coolest part of this is what’s inside—lucky money! As an international student, this may be a little expensive for you but if you can, share the luck with your friends.
4. New Year Shopping
With every celebration, there is the need for food and decorations. Items for the dinner and new clothes for the Spring festival are usually bought in order to welcome the new year. Right before the celebrations, there are New Year street markets to get everything you need.
5. Clean, clean, clean
“Sweeping the dust” as it is called plays a meaningful part in bringing in the New Year. It represents saying goodbye to the old year and old things. In order not to sweep away the good luck, homes are not cleaned for the first two days of the New Year.
6. Dinner Time!
This is the time when family and close friends gather and enjoy each other’s company with the help of food. Some of the foods that are usually eaten are Chinese Dumplings (Jiǎozi), Spring Rolls (Chūnjuǎn), Longevity Noodles (chángshòu miàn) and Fish (Yú). As an international student, this is a good way to socialize. So gather your friends and everyone make a dish, nothing beats dinner with friends.
7. New Year Bell
In temples and town squares, people gather at midnight to hear the bells ringing. Bringing good luck and driving away bad luck are the reasons why these bells are rung.
These paintings not only decorate homes, they make the atmosphere feel like you are in the midst of the Spring Festival and that best wishes will come along. Paintings are usually about historical stories, happy life, nature and plump boys (with Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy — and fertility).
9. CCTV New Year Gala
Just like in America where there is the Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve in Times Square (New York) on television, for the Chinese New Year there is the CCTV New Year Gala. During the four hours show, there are usually performances from music groups, dancers, acrobats and traditional Chinese folk singers.
10. Lion and Dragon Dances
These dances usually mark the end of almost every Chinese New Year’s Parade. The dragons represent power, wisdom, health and drives away bad luck and evil spirits. If you are in New York, take a quick trip to Chinatown with your friends and enjoy the yearly Lunar New Year Parade and Festival and you can get a chance to see these dances.
Happy Chinese New Year to all of our members who are celebrating! Though you may be far away from home, it’s always fun to gather with friends and create new memories for the New Year. We hope you stay in good health and have the best of luck.
P.S. If you should in any way need medical insurance for the New Year, ISO insurance is here to give you the safety net you deserve! Shēntǐ jiànkāng! (Enjoy good health)