5th February marks the start of the Chinese New Year; the most significant holiday on the Chinese calendar. The celebration is a time to honour ancient Gods and ancestors and marks the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar.
Each year is represented by an animal sign in the Chinese zodiac, with 2019 being the year of the pig. For people born in a year of the pig (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, and 2019) your lucky numbers are 2, 5 and 8.
Also known as ‘Spring Festival’, the celebration begins on New Year's Eve and lasts for 15 days, through the middle of the first month. In celebration of the New Year of the pig, we have outlined 5 ways in which you can honour the occasion.
Lion and dragon dances
In Chinese culture, the lion is a symbol of power, wisdom, and strength. The lion dance is one of the most important traditions of the Chinese New Year. Lion dances are performed to bring good fortune and chase away evil spirits - they also bring prosperity and good luck into the upcoming year.
The Chinese dragon symbolizes wisdom, power and wealth and is believed to bring about good luck. The body used for the dragon dance is stored in a local Dragon King Temple and can only be taken out the day before the festival. Once the dance is over, the dragon's head and tail are burnt and the body is returned to the temple, where it will be kept until the following New Year.
It is an ancient Chinese tradition to set off fireworks to welcome their new year. From extravagant public displays in major cities, to private celebrations in people’s back gardens in China, setting off firecrackers and fireworks is an indispensable festivity.
The loud noises made by the of the firecrackers serves to scare away evil spirits, although nowadays firecrackers are banned in many cities for safety reasons.
In the days leading up to the first day of the Chinese New Year, people clean their homes thoroughly. Windows are polished, floors are swept and furniture is dusted in preparation for the New Year, to rid their homes of the bad luck of the previous year.
It is Chinese tradition for families to gather on New Year's Eve for a reunion dinner, which is seen as being the most important meal of the year. The spread includes an abundance of delicious festive dishes, with fish being the main entrée. The tradition of eating fish during Chinese New Year celebrations stems from the belief that eating fish will bring a surplus of wealth into the following year.
It's a tradition to put crisp, new notes inside a Chinese New Year red envelope. The colour red symbolizes fire, which is traditionally believed to drive away bad luck and bestow happiness and blessings on receivers. These monetary gifts are typically given by senior family members to their junior relatives, it is also customary for employers to gift their employees.
Whatever your plans are this Chinese New Year, you can send money to your loved ones back home using Xendpay. We are passionate about keeping families connected, especially during important holidays like Chinese New Year. Our “pay what you want” transfer fees and competitive exchange rates, - make us more cost effective than your high street bank. Although it may not be sent via traditional red envelopes, you can be sure that your money will be sent swiftly and securely online.