Chinese New Year is the longest and the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4710 begins on Jan 23, 2012. Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is the brightest. Chinese New Year is the biggest annual event, where families will gather for a reunion dinner and friends will be visiting each other. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
For Chinese New Year celebrations, it is customary for Chinese families to have living blooms in the house, which symbolize rebirth and new growth. Highly prized flowers for the Chinese New Year are azalea, peony, water lily and narcissus. The Chinese believe that without flowers there would be no formation of any fruits, which in turn would negatively impact a family’s fortune. Therefore it is critical to incorporate flowers into your Chinese New Year decorations.
Breathing Fire into the New Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. 2012 is the year of the Water Dragon. Water has a calming effect on the Dragon’s fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm and makes him more perceptive of others. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave and passionate.
Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.
The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In North America, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families and found a sense of community through neighbourhood associations instead. Today many Chinese-American associations host banquets and other New Year events.
The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art painted with birds, animal, flowers, zodiac signs and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon. In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon, which might stretch a hundred feet long, is typically made of silk, paper and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colourful beast through the streets.
The most prominent colours of the Chinese New Year are red and gold. Red
symbolizes happiness, while gold symbolizes wealth. Prior to the first day of
the Chinese New Year many families decorate their living rooms with vases
of pretty flowering blossoms, platters of oranges and tangerines and a candy
tray with eight varieties of dried sweet fruit. Here at Helen Blakey Flowers
we have many flowers and plants to choose from to create the perfect
enviroment for Chinese New Year. Visit our secure website
www.helenblakeyflowers.com to view our beautiful selection.