With Chinese New Year taking place yesterday, we share the Top 5 Snippets about this celebratory time:
- Chinese New Year was celebrated on 10 February 2013, with the evening before marking New Year’s Eve. Families gather for their annual reunion dinner, which includes rituals that are hoped to provide for a prosperous year ahead.
- Feasting is a large part of the Chinese New Year, with certain foods possessing symbolic meanings, such as happiness, prosperity, luck, fertility and long life. Fish is used in New Year meals as the word sounds like ‘excess’ in Mandarin, meaning extra or additional. Prosperity is symbolized by oranges, chicken and prawns are for happiness and long noodles represent a long life.
- 2013 marks the Year of the Snake. It is believed that the Snake is a little dragon which fell from the sky and became a snake; therefore the snake has the body of a dragon but is without scales and cannot fly. Advice to heed during this Year of the Snake is to be disciplined and thrifty and stay alert for deception.
- Lion and dragon entertainment form a colourful part of this celebratory period, with red dominating all the decorations as it’s supposed to bring fortune, good luck and joy. Loud drumming and crashing cymbals are believed to chase away bad luck and evil spirits.
- Some Chinese say that you should not wash your hair on the 1st day of the New Year, as you may be washing away your good luck for the year ahead. There is also a belief that cleansing the house to sweep away ill fortune is essential to health, wealth and happiness for the coming year.
If you are interested in Chinese philosophy, read here how Cape Town is considered a perfect Feng Shui city.
Photographs by William Willcox