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Chinese Year of the Dog starts Feb. 16

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Chinese Year of the Dog starts Feb. 16

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CHINESE New Years is on February 16 this year and marks the beginning of year of the dog. The year of the dog is seen as bad luck for anyone born in the previous year of the dog. It may seem weird that new year’s is in the middle of February for Westerners, but the Chinese use a different calendar. Their calendar is based off of a combination of lunar and solar calendars.

However, in China they don’t refer to it as Chinese New Year. Instead, they call it the “Spring Festival.” Interestingly enough, the date changes every year.

Chinese New Year is actually celebrated for 15 days after the actual new year. The final event in the new year’s celebration is the Lantern Festival. This year, it’ll be celebrated on March 2nd. The first Lantern Festival can be traced back to as far as 2000 years ago.

Much like winter break, students in China get about a month off and sometimes more for university students. Even the adults from China get three days off for the holiday.

There are many students here at Granger that celebrate the holiday, and they are super excited for it. “Every new year I get money from each family member and I go to my temple to watch the Lion Dance,” John Huynh (12) said.

One of the traditions of the holiday is that the old give cash in red envelopes to the young. The color is red because that is the color of good luck, and it’s also used to ward off evil spirits. In fact, most of the decorations are in red in an attempt to have the same effect.

“Red is the lucky color, it represents good luck. It also protects you from the many spirits such as the house spirits and some kitchen spirits to make sure you have food,” Artemis Miller (12) said.

There are also different types of foods that have special symbolic meanings. These items include noodles for happiness, dumplings for wealth, and fish for increased prosperity.

”My family doesn’t really celebrate it but I remember my grandma buying a special rice cake. She would also make fish and egg rolls,”  Thai Thammavongsa (12) said.

Chinese New Years is also largely celebrated in London’s Chinatown with an appearance of about 500,000 people. In Hong Kong, they have a big horse race celebration where about 100,000 people show up.

Chinese New Years also boasts the world’s biggest annual fireworks usage. China produces about 90% of the worlds fireworks. It is said that the fireworks are used to scare off the evil spirits.

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Chinese Year of the Dog starts Feb. 16