Three things you must do to prepare for the Chinese New Year
For much of the world, the New Year's holiday has come and gone. But for the largest segment of the world's population, the new year arrives January 23.
Chinese New Year is by far the most popular and important day on the Chinese calendar, as it marks the end of the winter season and the arrival of spring. It's also the time during which celebrants go to great lengths to welcome the year, anticipating any bad luck they had in the previous year will be replaced by good fortune.
Celebrated throughout the world – particularly in regions with a heavy Chinese population, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and various other parts of Asia – this year's celebration is said to be particularly noteworthy as it is the Year of the Dragon. Each year is represented by a different member of the zodiac and each have their own characteristics, but the Year of the Dragon is believed to be one with the most potential for good fortune.
Just as those who ring in festivities on the Gregorian calendar with certain customs and practices, the same holds true for the Chinese New Year, as over 15 days of celebrating, revelers fill their day with various traditions.
1. Clean the house. Getting one's house as orderly as possible is one of the more popular customs. Celebrants believe that by getting rid of clutter and everything else that can mess up a home, they're ridding their homes of bad luck so good luck has plenty of room to take its place.
2. Handing out red packets. The color red has special meaning as well, which is why many people celebrate by handing out red pieces of cloth or envelopes with money in them. Tradition says that doing this brings good luck and brings added wealth.
3. Celebrating with family. As with virtually all ethnic backgrounds, families are important in the Chinese culture, which is why the Chinese New Year is meant to be enjoyed with ones friends, brothers, sisters, parents and extended family members. Not only are families supposed to enjoy the day together, but go out of their way to be especially nice and cordial with one another.
Unfortunately, circumstances often prevent families from being together. That's why there's often a spike in the number of people who send money online to their families around this time. According to Experian, more than one-third of Asian Americans send money to their native country where their families live during the Chinese New Year, hoping that their new-found profit will be the start to a fortunate and prosperous season.