Many people celebrate the New Year on Jan. 1, some with the Ball Drop in Times Square or an impressive fireworks display in Central London; others celebrate the New Year on different days and months of the year, and in very different ways.
The Chinese New Year is no exception — because it does not follow the Gregorian calendar, it falls on a different day each year. This year, the Chinese New Year falls on Feb. 19. This holiday runs on a 12-year cycle with each year represented by a different animal. According to timeanddate.com, “Buddha promised gifts to all animals that would pay him homage. Only 12 animals came to honor Buddha so, to favor these 12 animals, each one was given one of the 12 years of the Chinese zodiac.” An element is also attributed to the year’s specific animal; either wood, earth, fire, water or metal. 2015 is the Year of the Wood Sheep.
In China, the New Year of the Chinese Lunar Calendar is a public holiday, therefore businesses are closed for the celebrations. “We celebrate the lunar New Year’s Day on every first day in our traditional lunar calendar, but the celebrating starts about 10 days before New Year’s Day and ends on the 10th day of the calendar,” says Kaichen Xaio, a Chinese student at Michigan State University. “On the last day of the previous year, the whole family will have dinner together, stay up all night to celebrate and wait for the New Year coming. We also have fireworks at 12 a.m.” Chinese citizens clean their houses to ward off bad luck, then in the evening, a parade lights up the city. The parade includes a silk dragon and according to legend, the people must throw fireworks into the air to keep the dragon awake for the duration of the celebration.
Ian Terry is a professional writing major. He is the Head Writer for the Telecaster show TURN and a first-degree black belt in karate. He has a self-published a novel, Monster Seeker 2: Rise of the Phoenix King, and a short story, Bad Liar Society.