references: wikipedia.org chiff.com
Chinese New Year 2011: Year of the Rabbit.
One of the most ancient civilizations is that of the Chinese. Each New Year, people, around the globe, look forward to this most important Chinese holiday – curious about what the Chinese New Year has in store for them. Traditional Chinese culturalists believe that, somehow, individual lives will be influenced throughout the year in varying ways, depending on their animal signs.
Officially commencing on 3rd February, 2011, this Chinese New Year, is the Year of the Rabbit. Specifically, babies born between 3rd February, 2011 and 22nd January, 2012, will be born in The Year of the Metallic Rabbit. Their ‘metal rabbit’ compatriots are in their early 60’s …. born during the last occurence of the Year of the Metallic Rabbit, 6 February 1951 – 26 January, 1952.
One of the traditions during Chinese New Year celebration period, is the giving of red envelopes and red packets called “Ang Pow”. These Ang Pows are usually passed out during the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers. The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for “wealth”), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US.
In addition to red envelopes, small gifts (usually of food or sweets) are also exchanged. Gifts are usually brought when celebrating with friends or relatives in their homes. ‘Food’ gifts may include “Buddha’s delight”, Fish, Mandarin oranges, Melon seed, Taro cakes, Noodles, fruits (but never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, or some other small gift. The Chinese New Year is also the period of the largest human migration, when migrant workers in China, as well as overseas Chinese around the world, travel home to have reunion diners with their families on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Furthermore, one of the traditions in the Chinese New Year celebrations are fireworks. The Chinese believed that using these firecrackers will drive away evil spirits from the nearby surroundings and will bring luck. In terms of clothing, the color red is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it is believed that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year. Wearing new clothes also symbolizes having more than enough things to use and wear in the new year.
Chinese New Year celebrations run for 15 days.
People born in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit are said to be “generally calm, gentle & loving”, with an intuitive knack of progressing their ambitions. “Slow to anger”, they make popular and trusted friends and love to surround themselves with beautiful things reflective of their own beautiful nature and keen eye for art and design.
If you were born in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit you are in good company: Albert Einstein, Frank Sinatra, Pope Benedict XVI, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, David Beckham, Tiger Woods and Whitney Houston.
Happy Chinese New Year: 3rd February 2011 – 22 January 2012.