Tomorrow is the first day of the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year! The IU South Bend Chinese Student Association (CSA) is celebrating the holiday at the Student Activities Center (SAC) in rooms 221 & 223 from 10:30 am-1:00pm tomorrow, Friday, January 31st, 2014. The CSA invites everyone to join them for free lunch, interesting games, and prizes! If you have any question, please feel free to send email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every year, Chinese New Year is celebrated by the Chinese populations around the world. This year, the Chinese are celebrating the year of the horse on January 31, 2014. Traditionally, Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year” (农历新年), but it is also referred to as “Spring Festival” (春节) throughout China. The Chinese New Year is considered a public holiday in many Southeast Asian countries like China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, and in any Chinatown where large populations of Chinese descendants reside. To celebrate, people watch movies emphasizing family values, sing songs wishing everyone longevity and prosperity, and make homemade goods for gift exchange between families. Red banners are hung in both homes and businesses, red tableware are used, and red clothing is worn, as red symbolizes good luck for the new year.
There are 15 days of the celebration, but the preparation begins 8 days prior to the first day of new year, including a couple days dedicated to properly clean the house. Chinese New Year’s Eve (除夕) is very important because of the reunion dinner, also known as 团圆饭, or reunion dinner, where all family members gather for dinner. The first day of the Chinese New Year is dedicated to giving thanks to the deities and honoring the deceased in the morning, as well as visiting the elders and seniors in the paternal family bearing gifts. The second day of the Chinese New Year, more visits are to be made to the in-laws, the rest of the relatives, and close friends. By the third day, the holiday is over but the celebration continues in various ways: performing rituals on designated days, visiting the temples to pray for another prosperous year, and eating…lots of eating.
Making all the visits may be dreadful for married couples, but it is a most entertaining and profitable time for children and teenagers because cultural values and traditional custom dictate that the elderly and married couples are to pass out 红包，pronounced “hong bao” (red envelopes or packets that contains money) to children and unmarried individuals — but not unless they’re asked for! The phrase used to request a red envelope is 恭喜发财, pronounced “gong xi fa cai” in Mandarin or “kung hei fat choy” in Cantonese, congratulating others with a wish for another prosperous year and good fortune. So, happy Chinese New Year everyone! Don’t forget the event hosted by the CSA in SAC 221 & 223 for free Chinese food — and stay for a few games!