Chinese New Year, the Year of the Water Tiger..;

is also known as Lunar New Year. The date varies each year because it marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, on the second moon after the winter solstice and before the lunar phase of the spring equinox. It always takes place between 21 January and 19 February;

By convention, the date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing; In China, the New Year celebrations are the longest holiday period and mark the start of the festivities, which end a fortnight later with the Lantern Festival. These festivities are also known as the Spring Festival;

A month before the start of the festivities, red lanterns are hung in the streets and the doors of houses are decorated with duilan, calligraphy on strips of red cloth. Red is omnipresent, symbolising happiness and good fortune;

New Year’s Eve is a time for getting together with family, and the meal is the most important meal of the year. The dishes served are chosen for their symbolic good luck value. The fish Yù is omnipresent because the sound of the word is close to that of abundance; Fish appears on the table to bring prosperity, Chinese ravioli for wealth, noodles for longevity and Niángāo glutinous rice cake to bring better social standing. The guests stay up until the stroke of midnight to light firecrackers to scare away evil spirits and Nian, the New Year’s demon. After the meal, the children present their wishes to the family and receive red and gold envelopes containing money to wish them wealth and success for the coming year;

From the first day of the year, you can watch traditional dragon dance performances; The festivities continue for a fortnight, culminating in the Lantern Festival, Yuánxiao jié. The signature meal on this day is Tangyuan, a soup of glutinous rice dumplings stuffed with a sweet pastry, symbolising family reunion and fulfilment;

On 1 February 2022, the Year of the Tiger and its element Water begins; According to the Chinese horoscope, the Tiger is synonymous with tension, change and the unexpected, but Water is the symbol of temperance; The Year of the Tiger will come to an end on 21 January 2023, giving way to the Year of the Water Hare;

Happy New Year to the whole Chinese community!

Text: Corinne Grasseli

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