Welcome the Chinese New Year 2016!
Today marked the first day of the Chinese Lunisolar Calendar, the Chinese New Year - China's most ceremonious holiday. It is also known as the Spring Festival. The festivities usually start on New Year's Eve and continue till the 15th day of the new year. The Chinese New Year 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, the 9th sign in the Chinese Zodiac.
Origins of the Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year reportedly traces its origins to the Shang Dynasty period between 1600-1100 BC, when people ushered in the new year by offering sacrifices to gods and ancestors. Villagers would use bright lights and loud noises to scare away a mythical beast named Nien ("year") which was thought to attack people at the year's end. This practice morphed into New Year festivities.
Seeing red everywhere
The colour red is a representation of good fortune to the Chinese. The colour appears around cities everywhere in China during the New Year - red lanterns in doorways, red paper cutouts adorning windows, etc.
Chinese New Year festivities
Although all 15 days of Chinese New Year festivities are filled with cultural activities, the most important meal is the one on New Year's Eve. Families eat traditional meals on New Year's Eve and give their unmarried children red envelopes with money inside, called hong bao. The festivities end on the 15th day of the new year with the Festival of Lanterns.
Travel season in China
It is customary for adult children to be home with their families by New Year's Eve. This tradition leads to a massive travel season in China. Over 2.9 billion trips have been booked during New Year's time in 2016.
The Chinese Zodiac
Unlike the Western Zodiac system which is divided into 12 months, each month representing a sign, the Chinese Zodiac system is divided into 12 years. Each year in the Chinese Zodiac is associated with an animal - rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. People are said to be influenced by their birth year sign's personality.
Famous Year of the Monkey people
Some famous people born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Monkey are Leonardo da Vinci, Julius Caesar, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Hanks, Mick Jagger, Daniel Craig, Eleanor Roosevelt, Will Smith and Miley Cyrus among others.Share this timeline