CHINESE NEW YEAR IN SMITHFIELD 2008

By Zozimuz

CHINESE NEW YEAR 2008

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Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. The first day of the New Year falls between January 21 and February 20.

Chinese New Year is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors.

Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, and the Philippines. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours.

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year's Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity." Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, outside China its years are often numbered from the reign of the 3rd millennium BC Yellow Emperor. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year beginning AD 2015 the "Chinese year" 4713, 4712, or 4652.