It’s Chinese New Year and it’s the Year of the Monkey! So, if you were born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 (and of course, 2016), then this year is dedicated to you and only you. Being monkey enthusiasts ourselves, we thought we ought to find out a bit more about the New Year festivities. So here are 10 facts about Chinese New Year that you might not know:
1. New year, new date
It changes every year; this year it falls on Monday 8th February 2016.
2. Tiger, snake or dragon
The Year of the Monkey is just one of 12 animal houses – others include the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, rooster, dog and pig.
3. Good luck to you
Chinese New Year doesn’t just welcome in a brand New Year, it’s purpose is to encourage luck and prosperity in the forthcoming year.
4. Korean New Year?
China is not the only country to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Other places include Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, North Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.
5. Red envelopes
Red envelopes containing money, are given to young children to wish them luck for the New Year. (The colour red is synonymous with good luck; so lucky pants in China are bound to be bright red!)
6. Thou shalt have a little fishy
Fish is a popular dish on New Year’s Day, as it is believed to bring surplus money into your life.
Fireworks and firecrackers are a traditional celebration of a New Year, but did you there is a pattern to setting them off? The tradition is to light the small fireworks first, followed by 3 large ones. This is said to symbolise the fading out of the year and the welcoming of the new. The bigger the bang, the better the luck!
8. Say a little prayer
Visiting a temple to worship over the New Year is thought to be one of the best things to do to ensure a positive year to come. Shanghai sees thousands of worshippers visiting the Longhua Temple to pray for a better year ahead.
9. Bad luck
You must not clean the house in the first 3 days of the New Year to avoid washing away all your good luck. Some avoid washing their hair for fear they will wash their good fortune down the drain.
10. Did you know…
“Xinnian Kuaile” means “Happy New Year” in Chinese
Feeling inspired to celebrate Chinese New Year in style? Why not host your own celebration at school by having a fish dinner, exchanging red envelopes containing treats, and of course, lots of monkey arts and crafts.