The Chinese New Year
An important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar, on 19th February 2015, usually celebrated on the closed Sunday, this year 22nd February, this however varies every year dependent on when the calendar ends. In China this celebration is also know as the Spring Festival, this is the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. These celebrations will run from the Chinese New Years Eve right up until the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making it the longest festival in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year may also be referred to as the lunar new year due to the calendar being lunisolar.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated in other countries with significant Chinese populations such as Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan Signapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Mauritius, Phillipines and Chinatowns elsewhere.
Traditions within the Chinese New Year widely vary depending of the region. Often the evening before the Chinese New Year is an occasion where Chinese families have an annual reunion meal, as well as this it is tradition for the family to thoroughly clean the house, to ‘sweep away’ any ill-fortune and make way for good luck in the future. Windows, doors and the streets will be decorated with red colour paper decorations with themes of good fortune, happiness, wealth or longevity. Other traditions include giving money in red paper envelopes.
This year is the Chinese year of the sheep, starting on 19th February. The sheep is thought to symbolise peace and tranquility which is thought to be the primary mood of the year.
Relation to my project
My project is very much about the community within Chinatowns in the UK, I am exploring 3: London, Birmingham and Liverpool. The Chinese New Year is a very big part of the Chinese community and as stated above the biggest festival in the Chinese calendar, unfortunately I will be unable to attend the New Year itself on 22nd February, however I do intend to visit in the run up to the new year as I believe that this is a time where traditionally they are very together as a community. I also want to find out what the people living and working in these Chia towns think, why are they important to their culture? Why they chose to live/work here opposed to China itself? What significance they think these towns have on their way of living and life? I really just want to look into the culture that is present there. Having never been to a china town before the tart of my project I was unsure what I was going to find. I am looking into how the lifestyle is different and what is different to there to other parts of the UK. Have things been inspired by China here? the language often used? The architecture? The decorations? And other things that I can spot too.