Chinese calendar is guided by the lunar cycles of the moon, and naturally it is different in its construction than the Georgian solar calendar. As such the Chinese New year is typically celebrated on the first day of the First Moon of the lunar calendar. If you choose to compare it with the Western calendar, the Chinese New Year falls somewhere between January 21st and February 19th.
Traditionally the celebration of New Year involves much gaiety and fanfare. Traditionally it is the most important Chinese festival too. A Chinese New Year celebration revolves around the following basic themes:
- It symbolizes the passion for embracing everything that is new and bidding farewell to all those old and worn out.
- It is the time for family reunion.
- It is also the time for congratulating and wishing each other for a prosperous and happy time ahead.
There are certain rituals typically associated with the Chinese New Year celebration.
Flowers have important place in New Year festivals. Plum blossom and the water narcissus are the two flowers without which the celebration remains incomplete.
Lai-See Envelopes or Hong-Bao that contain good-luck money which is given to children and young adults. Other presents are also exchanged between families.
Spring Couplets are the objects without which this spring festival remains incomplete. These are the verses written in black ink on red paper containing good wishes for a happy new year.
Tangerines, Oranges, Pomelos are invariably placed at homes and stores. While Tangerines are believed to bring good luck, oranges are symbolic of wealth.
In the USA, The San Francisco Chinese New Year celebration is one of the largest Spring Festivals in the U.S.A. Due to social and geographical differences the Chinese New Year celebration in the USA has acquired a special character of its own. It depicts a queer mingling of Chinese tradition and adaptation from the Western culture.