BY SOPHIA HAN
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For Chinese people, the year starts with the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This year, Chinese New Year starts on Friday, February 12. In China, this is a holiday that lasts for one week, but it is also celebrated in places where many Chinese people live.
Every Lunar New Year is associated with an animal sign. For 2021, the animal sign is the Ox. People born in 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985 and 1997 are Ox people because an Ox year occurs every 12 years. Ox people are considered hard-working, honest and dependable.
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Traditionally, the Lunar New Year is a time for families to be together and eat special foods such as fish, dumplings, and wheat noodles called “longevity noodles.” People believe that if you eat these noodles, you will have a long and happy life.
In Chinese culture, red is considered an auspicious colour, so people often wear red clothes during the holiday. People also decorate their homes with red pieces of paper with traditional Chinese sayings and give children gifts of money in red paper envelopes.
It is common for adults to give each other mandarin oranges and anything gold-coloured (such as chocolates wrapped in gold paper or sweets in gold-coloured boxes).
Some things are considered unlucky to do during the Lunar New Year. Washing your hair is considered unlucky because it suggests that you may wash away good fortune. It is also considered unlucky to sweep or break an object.
If you have a friend who celebrates the Chinese New Year, you can greet them in Cantonese by saying kung hei fat choi (“gong hay fah choy”) or in Mandarin by saying gong xi fa cai (“gong zee fah-chai”). This means “Wishing you good fortune.”
celebrate – to do things you enjoy because of a special occasion
associated – if you associate something with another thing, this means the two are connected
occurs – when something occurs, it happens
considered – thought of
dependable – a dependable person is someone who acts the same way over time
traditionally – things you do because of a custom or belief
longevity – long-life
auspicious – lucky
decorate – to make a place look attractive
sayings – something that people often say
common – if something is common, it happens often
suggests – makes you think of something
fortune – wealth, good luck