2019 Lunar New Year Fireworks Display
This year iconic Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong will be witness to a panoramic firework show on the first day of Lunar New Year on 5th Feb, 2019, as China and Hong Kong usher in the Year of the Sheep. Thousands of visitors and locals would queue up to enjoy the pyrotechnic displays at various cities in China as well.
Lunar New Year is one of the most important Chinese holidays and it has many related festivals, such as Lantern festival, Dragon Boat, Qingming, and Mid-autumn festival, which continue for the next 15 days.
Chinese people see it as an opportunity to wash away the ill luck of the previous year and invite the good luck and fortune in the New Year. That’s the reason they pay off their debts before the New Year Eve, get their haircut and decorate their houses with auspicious symbols, cutouts with good luck themes and red colored wall hangings to ward off ill fortune. Also known as Spring Festival, it’s similar to Canadian Icewine festival and Western Christmas and New Year week, where people indulge in celebrations, colorful parades, shows, eating out and other festivities.
Legend associated with Lunar New Year
Similar to the other Asian festivals, the origin of the festival is quite unknown, but according to a popular legend there was a huge beast known as Nian in ancient times, who used to attack villages in China in spring season and gobbled up whatever came its way, including men, livestock, buildings and animals. One spring, an old man suggested a trick and asked all the villagers to hang sparkling red papers in front of their houses, doors and windows and burn bamboos when the monster arrives. The trick worked. The beast was in fact so bewildered seeing the brightness, glitter and burning crackles of the bamboos that it ran away from the settlements. At present the word “nian” stands for the “year.”
Since the time, people in China have been hanging lanterns and red paper objects at their doors and creating loud sounds on the Lunar New Year’s Eve. Burning bamboos were replaced with even louder firecrackers. So, the Chinese rightly believe in the louder, bigger and better.
New Year Festival Activities
Chinese people take their New Year very seriously. It’s considered that thoroughly cleaning and sweeping the homes brings good fortune for them. Breaking utensils and use of sharp objects are thought to be the contrary. It’s a holiday season and people flock to their homes from their jobs and universities to enjoy the fanfare with their family members. The trains and public transport facilities are packed in China during this season, as some people are returning homes, whereas some are just enjoying their long vacation doing some travelling.
New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve, when the entire family and near ones are around, having delicious Chinese dishes together becomes a cherished moment. Chicken Lettuce Cups, Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum, Jiaozi Dumplings, Cantonese Roast Duck, Rice Cakes, Sea food (including fish which is considered as auspicious and symbol of wealth) along with desserts and wines are the foods people enjoy together.
Red is the color of festivity and prosperity in China and people wear red on this occasion. Children also participate in the practice of getting red envelopes from their elders. These envelopes are actually a monetary gift to the youngsters from the seniors of the family.
Attractions of Spring Festival in Beijing
You can participate in a popular fair called Ditan Temple Fair during Lunar New Year celebrations in Beijing. Ditan is the Chinese word for Temple of Earth. The fair commences from 5th Feb 2019. It is in Dongcheng District. Apart from it, you can also participate in Longtan Temple Fair and Dongyue Temple Fair.
Temple fairs have a very old history in China and foreign tourists enjoy this cultural experience. It includes traditional folk performances such as dragon dance and lion dance. Traditional arts and crafts are displayed by the locals. Fun games, acrobatic shows and delicacies such as court dishes and Beijing snacks make these fairs a “must attend” event.