Chinese New Year

photo by Helen Downs

Chinese New Year, one of the most important traditional holidays in China, is being celebrated on Feb. 3, 2011. Chinese New Year isn’t like the New Year we celebrate in America, instead Chinese New Year is the celebration of family ancestors, the life you have lived so far, and to bring the whole family together to feast on food. In China it is their own way of expressing their culture in a bright, festive way, and to bring the whole country together in time of this traditional celebration. Fireworks, the traditional dragon dance, and the many festivals in the different cities are all part of this exuberent holiday.

Each year when Chinese New Year comes, the chinese zodiac sign changes, these are the 12 animals that are associated with certain years starting from 1927. This year the zodiac is going from the tiger to the rabbit. Just like the horoscopes we use here, the chinese zodiac is based on your birthday and gives a brief personality outlook. If your zodiac is being celebrated during a year, it is said during the year you will experience wealth, good health, and luck.

In my household, Chinese New Year is the next major holiday next to Christmas. My mom decorates the house with red to symbolize happiness and gold to symbolize wealth. A feast like Thanksgiving is made with the traditional dish of duck, vegetables mixed with seafood,a pork dish, eggrolls and the most important dish consisting of a full fish, which symbolizes surplus. There is no specific way to dress for the occasion, but their is gift exchanging involved, which is usually everybody’s favorite part other than the food. My mom  usually gives me”lucky money” which is money enclosed in a little red envelope with decorations colored in gold. This holiday is one of my favorites because I get to learn about the culture from my mom’s  homeland and experience how she would celebrate Chinese New Years if she were still in China.

The Chinese culture is enthusiastic in color, music, fashion, crafts, and much more. For those who haven’t experienced the culture and would like to, the Institute Of Texan Culture, downtown across from the Alamo Dome, on Feb.5,2011 from 10 A.M to 5 P.M is holding a Chinese New Year celebration for those to be able to grasp onto something different and entertaining at the same time.

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About Helen Downs

Hi, my name is Helen Downs and I am a junior here at Mac. I am on the Varsity swim team and enjoying writing,drinking tea, and watching movies.

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