Chinese New Year - Malaysia Bukit Pagar

Chinese New Year

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2012 - The Year of The Dragon

2012 - The year of the dragon - Chinese New Year


Chinese Dragon Dance

Penang is the place to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Malaysia.
Because of cyclical lunar dating, the first day of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. On the Chinese calendar, 2012 is Lunar Year 4710.

On the Western calendar, the start of Chinese New Year in 2012 falls on Monday, January 23, 2012 - The Year of the Dragon.

If you were born in 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 or 2012, you were born under the sign of the dragon. Like the dragon, you are one of the luckiest and most dynamic signs in the Chinese zodiac.

THE Dragon
2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940

  

The only mythological creature in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon epitomises the yang (male/warm) energy. Those with the dragon as their animal sign are lively people who are straight to the point, proud, full of enthusiasm and have great passion for life.

They are dynamic and stand out in a crowd as they are flamboyant and tend to leave a blazing trail behind them, igniting passion in some, but also scorching others who fall to ride the wave with them.

Dragons are also profoundly loyal to family and friends and think nothing of laying their lives down to protect their brood. Although sincere and honest, dragons are known to act first, think later, and suffer in leisure.

They can never keep their mouths shut, indulge in idle gossip and tend to believe they can take on just about anything. They can be eccentric and egotistical, demanding others to laugh at their jokes or laud that their actions.

Intelligent and charismatic, but the dragon seldom applies its wisdom carefully and chooses to flirt with imagined grandeur instead.

The Chinese zodiac signs are determined by the lunar year in which you were born. The Chinese believe the animal ruling one's birth year has a profound influence on personality, and destiny. The saying is: "This animal hides in your heart."

  

Years Corresponding to Chinese Zodiac Signs:

Rat 1900 1912 1924 1936 1948 1960 1972 1984 1996 2008 2020
Ox 1901 1913 1925 1937 1949 1961 1973 1985 1997 2009 2021
Tiger 1902 1914 1926 1938 1950 1962 1974 1986 1998 2010 2022
Rabbit 1903 1915 1927 1939 1951 1963 1975 1987 1999 2011 2023
Dragon 1904 1916 1928 1940 1952 1964 1976 1988 2000 2012 2024
Snake 1905 1917 1929 1941 1953 1965 1977 1989 2001 2013 2025
Horse 1906 1918 1930 1942 1954 1966 1978 1990 2002 2014 2026
Sheep 1907 1919 1931 1943 1955 1967 1979 1991 2003 2015 2027
Monkey 1908 1920 1932 1944 1956 1968 1980 1992 2004 2016 2028
Rooster 1909 1921 1933 1945 1957 1969 1981 1993 2005 2017 2029
Dog 1910 1922 1934 1946 1958 1970 1982 1994 2006 2018 2030
Boar 1911 1923 1935 1947 1959 1971 1983 1995 2007 2019 2031

The date of the Chinese New Year is determined by the Chinese calendar, a lunisolar calendar.
The same calendar is used in countries that have adopted the Confucian and Buddhism tradition and in many cultures influenced by the Chinese. Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the new year containing a new moon (some sources even include New Year's Eve) and ends on the Lantern Festival fourteen days later.

This occurs around the time of the full moon as each lunation is about 29.53 days in duration. In the Gregorian calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, on a date between January 21 and February 21.

Preparations tend to begin a month from date of the Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying presents, decorations materials, food and clothing.
A huge clean up gets underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck, and doors and windowpanes are given a new coat of paint, usually red.
The doors and windows are then decorated with paper cuts and couplets with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them. Dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes.
After dinner, the family sit up for the night playing cards, board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the occasion. On the day itself, an ancient custom called Hong Bao, meaning Red packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes.

The origin of the Chinese New Year is too old to trace; but the tales about it are quite interesting. Legend has it that there was a beast called Nian (which means "year" in Chinese) that would come to China the night before the new year began (according to the Chinese Calendar) and prey upon the people. One of the legends has it that Nian had a very big mouth and that he would swallow a great many people with every bite.

One day an old man came to the rescue of the people, he said to Nian, "I hear that you are a very capable beast, but do you think that you could swallow the other beasts of prey instead of people, who are not worthy opponents" So Nian started to swallow he other beast which were harassing the people anyway. After that the man disappeared riding Nian, it turns out that the man was really an immortal god.

The old man told the people to put up red decorations on their windows and doors at each year's end to scare away Nian in case he came back. Nian lived in fear of the colour red.
The people celebrate the New Year by putting up red paper and lighting fire- crackers to scare away Nian.
They say the words "Guo Nian" which mean both, "Survive the Nian" and "Celebrate the year." The word "guo" in Chinese means both observe, and pass-over.

Another tradition of the Chinese people is to wear bright costumes to attract the god of the universe who is supposed to come back at the beginning of the New Year.

The climax of the Chinese New Year lasts only five days including New Year's Eve, but the New Year season is one month long. During the New Year Celebration there is a lot of business and travelling conducted by the Chinese.

There is a lot to the celebration of the Chinese New Year. The people start to prepare themselves for the five-day New Year celebration a month in advance.
At the end of the five-day celebration the people start again to prepare for the lantern festival, which takes place about ten days later. The holiday of the New Year lasts about one month.

The five-day celebration is the most important part of the Chinese celebration. The people will do no cooking, except reheating, during these five days, and the shops will be closed. During the month before the celebration takes place chicken, fish, and pork are dried; eggs are preserved, and vegetables are pickled.
All food preparation is done in order to be ready for the many guests who will be coming.

On the first day of the five-day celebration, the day of New Year's Eve the people visit family and friends and bid farewell to the old year. Between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. "incense is lit and placed on a table that has been arranged to meet the spirits who will descend to earth" (Hou-Tien). After 11:00 offerings are made to the gods. "The gods are asked to bring peace and prosperity." The people then have a great feast as the festivities of the New Year sound on the streets throughout the night.

On New Year's Day the people all dress in new clothes and spend the day with their families. They exchange gifts; some of these gifts are gifts of money wrapped in red and gold paper. This money is to be spent throughout the holiday. Food is kept warm all day for visiting family. The tradition is to eat dumpling soup; whoever bites into the dumpling with the surprise in it is supposed to have good luck throughout the year.

The second day of the New Year is for visiting family. Money trees are put out as a sign of prosperity.

The third day of the festival is marked with fire-crackers and the Dragon Dance. This is also the day for the beginning of the Lion Dance, which lasts through the fifth day.
(Read about < Chinese New Year >)

The fourth day is a day for people, even strangers to drop in and visit wherever they like.

The fifth day of the New Year is for visiting family who are far away, a day of travel and reunion. On this day all of the shops re-open and the people can cook again.

The Lantern Festival begins about ten days later, with the first full moon of the New Year, this lasts three days. During these three days decorated lanterns are hung, the people wear white in honour of the moon and moon cakes are eaten.

The Lantern Festival, comes from the time when the Chinese People would go in search of spirits with burning sticks. They thought that the spirits could be seen during a full moon.


© 2001 Bukit Pagar Group