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Chinese New Year 2019: Year of the Pig

Chinese New Year 2019: Year of the Pig

History and traditions:

Chinese New Year is a Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese (or Lunar) calendar. The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history and is the longest holiday of the year.

Lunar New Year, day 1 of China’s lunar calendar, is within a day of the second new moon before the spring equinox moon phase and in 2019 is the start of the year of the Pig. It's oddly called Spring Festival, with it being in winter for most of China, but that's because it "looks forward to spring".

In the 21st century, the national holiday begins on the first of the Lunar Calendar and lasts until the 15th of the first month. In 2019, Chinese New Year will begin on February 5th and will end on February 19th.  Before the celebration, people traditionally clean their houses thoroughly, and also display traditional New Year's decorations. This festivity is a time for family reunion, and is considered the most important part of the Chinese New Year celebration.

Another tradition of Chinese New Year is the gifting of money in red envelopes. This is known as “money to anchor the year(s)”, “lucky money” or “New Year’s money.” By giving the money to children, elders are hoping to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings. Another version is given by the younger generation to their elders as a blessing of longevity and a show of gratitude.

Zodiac:

You probably know that there are 12 Chinese zodiac animals used to represent years, and 2019 is the year of the Pig. Zodiac signs play an important part in Chinese culture, and can be used to determine your fortune for the year, marriage compatibility, career fit, best times to have a baby, and so much more.

You might think your zodiac year will be lucky, however, it's supposedly the total opposite and is seen as an obstacle you have to jump over. Apparently, the way to protect yourself from evil spirits and bad fortune is to wear red underwear every day for the entire year, and in some places, married men even have to be accompanied by their wives when they go out at night during their year!

The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals and in Chinese culture are the symbol of wealth. Their chubby faces and big ears are also signs of fortune. Pigs are thought to love entertainment and will occasionally treat themselves; they are also a bit materialistic, but this is motivation for them to work hard.

Celebrations in London:

If you’re hoping to experience the celebrations first hand, you can watch the colourful Chinese New Year parade pass through the streets of the West End and Chinatown London. If you head over to Trafalgar Square, you’ll also catch stage performances and all-day entertainment, or you can visit stages dotted across the West End for more Chinese New Year celebrations.



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