Soon enough, the red packets of money will be given to many hands, and every mall will have their own Chinese New Year festival complete with the Lion Dance – Barongsai attraction. All of those to celebrate the coming of the Chinese New Year, welcoming the year of the Rat. This time, we will tell you some fun facts about Chinese New Year that you might not know!
It is not actually called “Chinese New Year”!
The first fact might be a very obvious one, but in China, they do not call the festival “Chinese New Year”. There, the festivities are well known as Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival. The name is derived from the fact that the New Year is determined by the lunar calendar, unlike the Gregorian calendar that determines the New Year by counting the Earth’s revolution around the sun.
The festival lasts for 15 days!
Our favourite fun facts about Chinese New Year is the fact that unlike the regular New Year which usually only lasts from the 31st of December and the 1st of January, Lunar New Year’s festivities lasts for 15 days! During those days, there is a tradition in which married couples have to give out red envelopes filled with money to children and unmarried adults as a sign of good luck for the receiver.
The spotlight of the festival happens on the 15th day which is also the last day of the Spring Festival. In Indonesia, the day is also known as Capgome, (The fifteenth night). There are many ways to celebrate Capgomeh in Indonesia, and we will be covering that in another article later!
Firecrackers are used to scare monsters!
One fun fact about Chinese New Year that you might not know is related with the sounds made by the firecrackers crackling for a few short moments before it runs out of fire. The sound that you might find annoying might actually be the one that saves you, your family, and even your children!
How? In the legend, it is said that Nian, a creature that looks like a combination of a dragon and a lion would come out of its hiding spot and attack everyone, especially your children! However, it has one specific weakness. Its ears are very sensitive, so the fireworks and firecrackers that sound annoying to you, are believed to be scaring Nian away!
It inspires its own movie genre
Another fun fact about Chinese New Year that is surprising is that it inspires (or even created) its own movie genre! In around 1997, a film-marketing phenomenon started to become prominent, and it is called he sui pian. Back then, the Chinese film industry was having a very tough competition against Hollywood movies and Hong Kong action movies.
The purpose of he sui pian is to create a movie that could capture the “golden season”, just like how there are many Christmas-themed movies. That is why, most of he sui pian features light-hearted comedies and actions, and most of the time are criticized for ignoring artistic qualities.
Make sure to wear red!
Are you confused as to why many Chinese would wear red during the Lunar New Year? In fact, this tradition has a connection with our third fact regarding firecrackers. And yes, it is once again about Nian. Apparently, the Nian is also afraid of firelights and the color red, and that is why the color red would be so important for the tradition.
However, that is not all! For the last fun facts about Chinese New Year, we also would like to tell you that the color red symbolizes good fortune and good luck, which also explain why Chinese are so tied with the color red: because they believe it will bring good fortune to them.