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Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival

Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival

On Sunday, January 22, more than 20% of the world began celebrating Chinese New Year, but did you know that the festivities last for a couple of weeks and end with the Lantern Festival!  

Written by GISSV's DEI Committee

Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the traditional lunar new year in China, and begins on the first new moon of the lunar calendar. 2023 is the year of the rabbit. However, one thing we didn’t know is that Chinese New Year is celebrated for 16 days, and ends with the Lantern Festival.

Chinese New Year festivities began on Sunday, January 22. Businesses and schools shut down for the first five days, and families gather to celebrate. On the evening of Chinese New Year many people set off fireworks and firecrackers to ward off evil spirits and again in the morning to ring in the New Year. However, the festivities carry on with the Spring Festival.

The celebration between January 22 and February 1 is called the Spring Festival. During the Spring Festival, families used to pray to the gods for a prosperous planting and harvesting season, as it marked the end of the coldest time of the season and the coming of spring. However, as China shifted away from agrarian life, the Chinese now pray to their ancestors.

The festivities will end on February 5, 2023 with the Lantern Festival. This festival is always held on the 15th day, which is the first full moon of the lunar calendar. People, especially children, will go out at night carrying paper lanterns.The lanterns can be a symbol for reconciliation with your past self and prosperity into the new year.

So, it’s not too late to participate in Chinese New Year festivities.

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Photo: Jason Leung on Unsplash