5 February 2019

The Lunar New Year in Taiwan

Chinese New Year is also known as Spring Festival. There is no set date for this festival. Usually it's celebrated in the end of January or beginning of February, according to Lunar Calendar. 
Chinese New Year starts at January 1 and lasts until 15th, which is the Lantern Festival. Taiwan officially moved to Gregorian Calendar as the rest of the world, although traditional holidays are celebrated according to Lunar Calendar. 

Every year has its zodiac animal. This year (108 according to Minguo calendar used in Taiwan) is the year of pig. Each of year is defined by an animal signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Every 12 years the zodiac makes a small cycle, each lunar cycle is 60 years. Your zodiac year is considered unlucky. 

Lunar New Year was traditionally for praying to Gods for good planting and harvesting season. People also pray to theirs ancestors. Many of older people also have one separated room for Gods, where they bring food and pray. 
On this day people would set off firecrackers which are supposed to scare monsters and bad luck on the Chinese New Year's Eve. People also burn fake paper money and printed gold bars to honor their ancestors. 

Sycee (yuanbao) was a type of silver or gold currency used under Qing Dynasty. Sycee weren't made by a central band which in consequence the shape and amount were highly variable. Most common was square or oval shapes, but also other like boats, flower or tortoise are knowns. 
Nowadays sycee is a symbol of wealth and prosperity and is commonly used during Lunar New Year. 

See also: Lantern Festival


One of important Gods is the Door God. People often past paintings of this God on the front door. Usually Door Gods have angry faces and looks force, because they are ready to protect family from any demons. Also some people past nice sentences (poetry) on the left side, right side and above door.
Another kind of decorations is the word fortune passed on doors or windows.

During this holiday people also exchange gifts. Kids usually get lucky money in red envelopes. 
There are also some special food during this time. One of that is tangyuan (sticky rice balls cooked in sweet soup), nian gao (sticky rice cake), fa gao (cake made of rice flour and steamed). 


Traditionally people clean up before Chinese New Year and prepare food to not do anything during holidays. Sweeping and using knifes or scissors is a bad luck during New Year. Also cutting hair during this time could result in snipping away good fortune. 
Houses are decorated with red colors which means good luck. People doesn't use white which is associated with funerals. 

In Chinese culture family will eat dinner together at Lunar New Year's Eve. It's the most important meal of the year. After dinner children will also receive red envelopes. In New Year day usually starts with firecrackers. On the second day married daughter will back to parent's home with husband and kids. In the past there used to be more celebrations everyday until Lantern Festival which is the 15th day. 

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