The Chinese zodiac uses animals such as the rabbit, rat, tiger, dog, ox, goat, horse and pig. The Chinese New Year 2015 is the year of the goat (sheep). Both terms, sheep and goat, are popular and are used in reference to this zodiac year.
The new year may start at different times depending on the Chinese lunar calendar. There are certain years associated with the goat such as 2015, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, and 1931. Every 12 years, the Chinese will be under the eighth animal, the goat (sheep).
Every animal represents different qualities. For example, the year of the monkey depicts innovation and the year of the pig represents honesty. The personality of the person born during the year of the goat is described as gentle, calm, thoughtful, creative, persevering, honest and frank.
People born during the year of the goat (sheep) do not want to be the center of attention. Career fields related to the year of the goat are as follows: musician, teacher, pediatrician, actor, interior designer, and editor.
This is the beginning of a new year. A legal holiday was designated for the first three days of the Chinese New Year 2015. The holiday becomes seven consecutive days as the Chinese New Year’s Eve and three more days are included, although festivities continue for approximately two weeks.
During the Chinese New Year, the family celebrates together. The New Year’s Eve is set aside for the Reunion Dinner and it is considered to be the most important meal during the year. Several generations of family members come together.
Recently, the reunion time has become difficult for families due to the fact that some Chinese women support the feminist movement. This has caused many family arguments and as a result has contributed to the divorce rate.
The cultural activities that occur during this time include fireworks, ancestor worship, dragon dances, lion dances, and performances that are representative of an emperor wedding. The Chinese use 600,000 rounds of firecrackers during the Firecracker Ceremony.
The decorations are all done in red, including the goat. Red is used because it is thought to bring luck, prosperity, and joy. Bamboo sticks that are filled with gunpowder are lit also. This is an important part of the festivities because the purpose is to chase away evil spirits. Although Washington D. C. is experiencing snow, a parade participant told The Washington Post that the harvest is expected to be good.
According to the Business Insider, one of the dances that was performed in New York City’s Chinatown 16th annual event was a rendition thought to represent a man who saved an emperor from death by using his sleeve to block a sword. The Chinese performed a ribbon dance where the dancers twirled strips of silk. The American National Anthem and the Chinese National Anthem were sung. Lots of confetti was blowing around everywhere.
Beautiful Chinese attire is worn by all ages. There is a ritual called “the plucking of the greens” that involves a lion figure trying to get to a red envelope with money that is dangling from a pole. The challenge is to eat the lettuce first, spit it out, and retrieve the red envelope.
During the Chinese New Year 2015, the choice of food is also essential for the festive celebration. Fish is good for bringing money and good luck. Chinese dumplings are eaten as well because of the belief in the luck for money and wealth for the incoming year.
By Marie A. Wakefield
Photo by Aural Asia – License