"Welcome to the Year of the Red Fire Monkey!
In Chinese astrology, each year is symbolized by one of twelve animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) and one of five elements (metal, water, fire, wood or earth). The animal - element combination occurs every 60 years, and this year is the "Year of the Red Fire Monkey" (red for the color of fire).
Chinese New Year, which is also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is a celebration that lasts over a period of 16 days. The first day of the Chinese calendar in 2016 is Monday, February 8, and in 2017, New Year's will be celebrated on January 28, 2017. It's never too soon to start planning a trip to take in the Spring Festival experience next year!
The festival starts on New Years Day and traditionally ends 15 days later with the Lantern Festival, which dates back over 2000 years to the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 221 AD). While customs and activities vary regionally, the most important custom is lighting and enjoying the lanterns. They are almost always red to symbolize good luck, and glowing lanterns are most often sent aloft or afloat on the sea, rivers or lakes.
Another custom is the eating of rice dumplings. In some parts of China the tradition is to have them on New Year's Day; other areas serve them during the Lantern Festival. The round shaped dumplings are a symbol of family reunion.
Many Chinese families will travel from long distances for family reunions on New Year's Eve. It is also tradition for parents to give their children red envelopes after these dinners, wishing them good luck, good health, and to ward off any evil spirits. These envelopes always contain money, which is why the envelopes are known as "lucky money".
Spring Festival is one of the world's biggest annual celebrations. One can celebrate Chinese New Year in cities big and small all around the globe. From dragon and lion dances to art exhibits and food galore, here are some of the top picks outside of China:
As stated before, it is never too early to start planning for 2017. Spring Festival is a big draw all around the world, so you will need to book early.
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