The Year 2017 is the Year of a Rooster, according to Chinese zodiac cycle. The new year begins on January 28, 2017 and will last until February 15, 2018. (Guided by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, the date changes from year to year.) Today, Julia had a beautiful celebration at her Montessori school. Children heard a presentation about the meaning of this holiday, as well as held many traditional items used during the Chinese New Year celebration. Though in a winter, the holiday is called "Spring Festival" because the "Start of Spring" (4–18 February) is the first of the terms in the traditional solar calendar. While wintery weather prevails, Chinese people look forward to the beginning of spring since "Start of Spring" marks the end of the coldest part of the winter.
A fifth of the world population celebrates Spring Festival. It is China's winter vacation week, like between Christmas and New Year's Day in Western countries. Schools in China get about a month off, and universities even more. China, Hong Kong, Korea and Macau get three days of public holiday. Other Asian countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and Singapore also have public holidays.
During the New Year holidays, people are making amends, reconciling with each other, and are re-establishing old ties. They clean their house, buy and wear new clothes, and give gifts. (Billions of red envelopes are exchanged during the celebration!) The houses are being decorated with banners in traditional New Year's colors: red (representing good luck) and gold (representing fortune). Food also has symbolism, where fish represents fortune, and long vegetables and noodles represent long life.
Chinese New Year holidays resemble a mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas, as celebrated in Western Hemisphere. Spring Festival brings unification of families, who joyfully celebrate harvest in hopes for good and prosperous new year. China’s railways expect to host 356 million passengers during the 40-day official travel season, known as "Chunyun." ("Chunyun" translates as "Spring Festival Transportation" and begins 15 days before the start of Chinese New Year and lasts for around 40 days.) The number of passenger journeys during the Chunyun period is being projected to be 2.98 billion for the 2017 holidays. It has been called the World's largest annual human migration. Many migrant workers seize their only chance in a year to flock from the cities back to their rural roots to reunite with their families and celebrate the holidays together.
Children heard wonderful stories, and had a chance to hold and explore native traditional objects used during the Chinese New Year holiday. Children also tasted some traditional Chinese food and made crafts. It was a memorable celebration indeed!
Read here a post about "How we celebrate … the Chinese New Year of a Rooster."