This year, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on 12th and 13th February. Some say Chinese New Year dates back to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC)1 and is an occasion for family reunions while also marking the start of spring in the Lunar Calendar. But there are some other facts about Chinese New Year that make it a special celebration
1. The Year of the Ox
- According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2021 is the year of the Ox. The Ox is part of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals and they cycle around every 12 years. Your zodiac is determined by the year you are born in and it is believed you will adopt the characteristics of your zodiac. Those born in the year of the Ox are believed to be industrious, cautious and are helpful people2. There is also a tale behind the 12 zodiac animals and it is quite an interesting read if you have the time.
2. Marking the turn from Winter to Spring
- Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival. In ancient times, the spring festival marked the turning from winter to spring and was an auspicious time for farmers to plant new crops.
3. Chinese New Year is a 15 Day Celebration
- Traditionally, families gather on the eve of Chinese New Year for a reunion dinner. Family members from all across the globe tend to come back during this period to their family home. The first few days of Chinese New Year are often spent offering prayers to ancestors, visiting family and friends as well as the giving red packets (angpaos) to children and unmarried relatives. The 15th day of Chinese New Year is also an important day as it is Chap Goh Meh or the Spring Lantern Festival. Quirkily, the 15th day of Chinese New Year is also Chinese Valentine’s Day. In Malaysia, it is common to see single ladies throw oranges into the river to signify they are ready to find a partner.
4. Chinese New Year Tea Ceremony
- Some Chinese families today still continue a long-standing tea ceremony tradition. On the first day of the Chinese New Year, the eldest generation (say the grandparents) will be served sweet tea from the next generation (parents) and if there is younger generation (children), they will serve tea to their parents3. This serving of sweet tea will be followed by offerings of well wishes for the year and those serving the tea will be given angpaos from their elders to symbolise prosperity. If you can’t come across sweet tea, the BOH Cameronian Gold Blend is a wonderful alternative as its golden brew symbolises prosperity in Chinese culture.
5. Firecrackers are A Must!
- Firecrackers have a significant purpose during Chinese New Year. It is said that, firecrackers (which came about by burning dried bamboo) were used to scare off evil spirits and monsters that would wreak havoc in villages4. Overtime, it has become a mainstay in Chinese culture and firecrackers with their bright burst or colours and explosive sounds bring out the festive atmosphere during Chinese New Year.
To make your Chinese New Year a more convenient affair especially during this COVID period, check out some of our quick and easy Instant Tea Mix Teas you can purchase from us. Pssstt… you can also make Teh Tarik pancakes using this recipe. Have fun!