Friday, November 16, 2012

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or  Spring Festival in China, is the most important holiday for Chinese in and out of China. The festival, which marks the end of the winter season, is, at 15 days, the longest holiday in China. It is almost compulsory for Chinese families to gather on Chinese New Year's Eve for a reunion dinner, so the period before Chinese New Year sees one of the largest annual human migration on the planet since many migrant Chinese travels back to their home towns to meet with their families.

When is the Chinese New Year 2013?

Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. Since the traditional Chinese calendar is lunisolar (the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year"), whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year, its date falls on different dates each year in the modern Gregorian calendar.

Chinese New Year 2013 (Chūnjié / 春節 2013)  will be start on Sunday 10 February 2013, and the festival will last until the Sunday, 24 February 2013.

What is The Chinese New Year about?

Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new lunar year in Chinese Calendar so it is actually a new year for Chinese. It is derived from end-of-harvest celebrations of the distant pass and institutionalized by Han Dynasty of China.

Which Chinese Zodiac animal will Chinese New Year 2013?

In traditional Chinese culture, each year has its own corresponding animal from the Chinese Zodiac, a cycle of 12 animals. By Chinese New Year 2013, we will leave The Year of Dragon  (Lóng / 龍) and enter The Year of Snake (蛇 Shé). Snake Years are sixth in the cycle, following the Dragon Years, and recur every twelfth year (the previous snake year started back in January 24th 2001).

In traditional Chinese belief, people born in a specific zodiac share some common characters and fortune. Some zodiac animals are favored some are not. This is the reason in Chinese dominated countries, you see a lot of pregnant woman around in the year of the dragon while the number significantly falls in the year of the tiger.

Kek Lok Si in Penang, Malaysia
Southeast Asia's largest temple Kek Lok Si in Penang, Malaysia during Lunar New Year 
The Origins of Chinese New Year
End-of-harvest celebrations when people would offer thanks to gods for good harvests and entreaty for a good crop in the following year are believed to be the origins of The Chinese New Year. These customs were formalized under Han Dynasty (206BC-AD 25) rule and become The Lunar New Year celebrations as we know them now.

Chinese New Year Public Holidays around the world

In countries with sizable Chinese population, Chinese New Year is a public holiday. Here are the countries where Lunar New Year is a holiday with holiday dates:

People's Republic of China - Feb 9 - 11 2013 are public holidays. Feb 12 - Feb 15 common local holidays.
Hong Kong and Macau - Feb 9 - 12 2013 public holiday.
Republic of China (Taiwan), Thailand and Vietnam - Feb 9 - 12 2013 public holiday.
Singapore and Malaysia - 10-11 February 2013 public holiday. New Year's Eve is unofficially half day.

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