Here's a quick introduction to the whats, whys and hows of this festive tradition. We aim for you to feel inspired to play a long with us and create your own celebration of the wonderful new year, full of new oppurtunities.

Gung Hei Fat Choy

Is what you say to eachother when wishing Happy Chinese New Year. Loosely translated it means something in the likes of : Congratulations/Good luck/may fortune come your way.

The Lunar New Year is a time of feasting with the family, celebration, fireworks and gift-giving. It lasts for 15 days and begins on the first day of a new moon. In 2014, Chinese New Year is celebrated on January 31st. In the Chinese calendar, it is the year 4711, and we are entering the Year of the Horse.

Chinese New Year is also called the Spring Festival because it marks the end of the winter and the beginning of the spring in the Chinese calendar. Before Chinese New Year, families springclean their homes from top to bottom, washing the windows, cleaning out the bad luck and misfortune before the New Year starts.It is also custom to decorate the house with sprigs of tiny, pink blossoms symbolizes rebirth and reminds us that without blooms, there would be no fruit.

Ancient Chinese legends tell of the Nian, a man-eating beast from the mountains which came out every winter to feast on humans. To scare the Nian away, the people used loud noises such as firecrackers and fireworks, and bright colours, particularly red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations.

Traditons surrounding the Lunar New Year celebration:

1. Decorate with the colour red to ward of Evil. Red represents power, happiness, vitality (and scares away monsters). The use of gold represents wealth and good fortune.

2. Spring blossoms, bamboo and fresh fruits are also used for decoration and offerings at the family altar, as they are a sign of good luck, fruitfullness and fertility. The pink blossoms symbolize rebirth and reminds us that without blooms, there would be no fruit.

3.The dragon is a symbol of strength, goodness, good luck and supernatural forces. The dragon dance has the purpose of scaring off bad and evil spirits. The same goes for firecrackers and sparklers.

4. Children receive good luck money in little red enveloppes. Sometimes also chocolate coins.

The celebration is also about spending time with your family, eating delicous foods and having a good time.  Everyone tries to be at their best behaviour, as it is said that the actions that take place on the first day of the new moon, are the ones that will determine the year to come. Many kids get a haircut and a new  set of clothes (red for luck).

Gung Hei Fat Choy