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Chinese New Year is coming up on February 19th. This will make the year of the Sheep. If you are turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, or 72, then you will want to wear red to ward off any ill fortune you may encounter upon meeting your benming nian, the animal corresponding to the zodiac year. The tradition of wearing red clothing started with the legend of the Nian, “Year.” In this traditional folklore tale, a monster devours everything in its path, including children. Villagers would leave food on their doorsteps to help stave away the monster’s hunger, and keep the Nian away from their family. One day, it was noticed that a child dressed in red terrified the Nian and chased it off. Since then, the color red has been associated with the Chinese New Year.
Red clothes are symbolic of this tale and are still believed to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. Another tradition is wearing all new clothes on the Chinese New Year. If you wear a brand new red outfit, then you are sure to bring in the New Year with good luck. Traditional clothing would include the quipao dress, which is form fitting with a high neckline. Women typically wear these to formal events, but this beautiful dress would create an eye-catching look to ring in the New Year.
New clothes on New Year’s will bring better luck, even if not all red. A new top and skirt would work as a great addition to your New Year’s wardrobe. Fresh clothing will bring a fresh start to your year, along with other feasts and festivities. So, splurge on a new outfit that makes you happy, but don’t forget to buy something red. Enjoy a traditional Chinese New Year feast, fireworks, and good luck with your new red outfit.
Before the New Year begins, tradition is to clean the house, buy a new outfit, and many other new changes for the year. Traditionally, the whole house will need to be cleaned before the New Year and decorated with red to bring better luck to the household. A variety of decorations will be displayed around the house, including red lanterns, red paper cutouts, and red banners with lucky sayings.
Chinese New Year traditions also include the giving of red envelopes. These red envelopes are filled with money and given to loved ones to bring them good fortune. Of course, money is always a great gift. Elders give them to the younger members of the family and only given in even amounts to bring them good luck. Families will also reunite for feasts that feature a variety of traditional foods. All these traditions draw the family closer together during this joyous time.
Fireworks will be set off all across China and many other regions to celebrate the New Year. Red symbolizes fire and helps ward off the Nian, but fireworks can ward the monster off with a bang. Firecrackers are set off everywhere to deter the Nian with all the loud noises and ward off its bad luck. Fireworks add to the celebration for a fun time bringing in the New Year.
*Italicized words are Chinese terms