Chinese New Year is one of China’s most important holidays. This year is the year of the dog, which happened Friday, February 16th. This is the year of the dog because the Chinese calendar goes by the 12 zodiac animals, which are (in order) rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The animal that is known as the year of good luck is the pig as it brings prosperity, and the animal known for being the year of bad luck is the year of the snake as it brings you misfortune. The Lunar calendar has been in existence since the beginning of the Shang Dynasty in the early 14th century. The calendar also includes yin and yang, which are the creators of a peaceful world. They also have control over the Chinese calendar.
The festival begins with the new moon that happens between the end of January and the end of February. It will take about 15 days until the full moon arrives, which will be celebrated with the Festival of Lanterns. The celebration of Chinese New Year is so important that work stops and people focus on cleaning their houses for the gods who come down to visit. There are rituals such as sacrifices of food and paper icons. They use firecrackers to ward off evil spirits and the elders give money to the young. All of these traditions are to bring luck into the families’ households. Families eat long noodles in the first days of the new year to symbolize a long life, and on the last day, families eat round dumplings to represent the full moon and how the family was together.