Happy Lunar New Year 2012

Asia World Media would like to wish everyone a Healthy, Prosperous and Happy 2012 Lunar New Year, “Year of the Dragon”!

Gung Hay Fat Choy (in Chinese), Chuc Mung Nam Moi (in Vietnamese), traditional Happy Lunar New Year Greeting!

It means “Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year.”

Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year, Spring Festival) marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  It is a time for family reunions, for honoring ancestors and for thanking the gods for their blessings. It falls on a different date every year, toward the end of January and beginning of February.

The Lunar New Year is commonly known as Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This is an important annual festival celebrated by Chinese and different ethnic Asians around the globe. The festival is based on the Lunar calendar and starts on the first day and ends on the fifteenth day of the first month of the calendar. 2012 Lunar New Year will be celebrated on January 23rd and is the year of Dragon, the most auspicious animal as per the Lunar zodiac. This new year features contemporary and traditional Asian cultural activities, dances, festivities, singing, Asian opera, arts and crafts, karaoke competition, innumerable stalls of culinary delights, lion dances, chess competitions, playing cards, varies board games, children’s events, calligraphy, dragon parades to name a few.

2012 Year of the Dragon.  Source: Youtube Channel ImpressionofChina

Families make great preparations for this special celebration.  Before the new year, families settle debts and buy new clothes. The house is cleaned and food is prepared.  Homes are filled with flowers and fruit. Oranges, tangerines, and pomelo fruits are picked and displayed . The colors symbolize good luck and joy.

Blossoms symbolize longevity and courage.  Some Asian believe that if flowers blossom on New Year Day, good fortune will be theirs for the next year. Candy trays of candied melon, coconut, lotus seed  and watermelon seed are offered. They signify growth, good health, abundance and togetherness.

Red paper envelopes, containing money, are given out, usually from adults to children, to symbolized “Good Luck and Bring Good Fortune.”  Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals.

Scrolls or couplets are hung on walls or doorways to carry messages of good health, luck, long life, prosperity, and happiness.  A popular one reads, ” May everything be according to your wishes!”

Children behave impeccably because they are warned that what happens the first day of the year may decide events for the entire coming year.  Everyone takes care to say and do the right things and think good thoughts.

Lunar New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar. The origin of Lunar New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Lunar New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Asian populations, such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Tibet, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and also in Chinatowns around the countries. Lunar New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans (Seollal), and Bhutanese (Losar), Mongols (Tsagaan Sar), Vietnamese (Tết), and the Japanese before 1873 (Oshogatsu).

The Korean New Year, known as Solnal, is celebrated as a three day family-oriented holiday. Individuals travel to their hometowns to visit their family members and to conduct memorial services for their ancestors, charye, to celebrate family-ties. Many people drink gui balki sool, a special liquor that is thought to help you hear clearly all year long.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, celebrates the coming of happiness, wealth, longevity, luck, and prosperity over a two week period. Before the arrival of Chinese New Years, families focus on cleaning the house to sweep away all ill-fortunes away to make way for incoming good luck. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, large family reunion dinners are held with foods served representing wealth, happiness, and good fortune.

Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, is prepared with the cooking of special holiday foods like Banh Chung and displaying kumquat trees or flower branches for good luck. People visit relatives and neighbors to bring good wishes and children get Li Xi (red envelopes with lucky money) from elders. While the other 11 zodiac animals are the same between the Chinese and Vietnamese Lunar New Year, the Vietnamese zodiac uses the “cat” rather than the “rabbit” symbol for this year.

The Tibetan New Year, Losar, is celebrated anywhere between 1-15 days. Monasteries prepare for the New Year by cleaning and put up their finest decorations. On the dawn of Losar, a ‘sacrificial cake’, tor ma, is offered to the highest power of Dharma protectors, the goddess Palden Lhamo.

The Mongolian Lunar New Year, Tsagaan Sar, is often celebrated in the home dwelling of the eldest in the family. Homes and barns are cleaned on Bituun, the day before Tsagaan Sar, in order to meet the New Year fresh. On the day of Tsagaan Sar, a lavish feast is held, often requiring preparation of days in advance.

In countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, although Lunar New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese and Asians hold large celebrations and Australia Post, Canada Post, and the US Postal Service issue New Year’s themed stamps.
Many traditions and customs concerning the celebration of the Lunar new year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. On the Eve of Lunar New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chickens, sweet sticky rice and other sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers.

Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Lunar New Year tradition is a new beginning and to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.

Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet) Song. Source: Youtube Channel thanhmaikmt

Background music: Chinese New Year songs sung by the renowned M-Girls quartet from Malaysia.(We remixed 3 songs/melodies). One of the songs – “Rasa Sayang Eh”, a Malaysian folk song, was re-arranged for the Chinese New Year greetings version.  “Gong Xi Gong Xi – Happy Chinese New Year”. Source:  Youtube Channel jasalf5959


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