Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year, is the beginning of the year and a meaningful celebration in many eastern countries. The exact date of the Lunar New Year varies every year in accordance with the Lunar calendar. In China, Chinese New Year is the most important festival throughout the year and carries significant sentimental value. People across the country return to their hometowns to spend precious time with their families, as the festival's main theme is a family reunion.
According to folk tales, the "Year Beast" comes out and attacks people on the night before the Chinese New Year. An ancient Chinese Emperor fought the beast for so long, and he finally discovered that fire and everything in red could defeat the beast. Accordingly, every family puts red lanterns and decorations around their house and lights fireworks and firecrackers to scare away the beast. Today the tradition continues, but people use red lanterns and red-colored decorations together with the fireworks to pray for good fortune and health to everyone in their family.
For the year 2023, Chinese New Year begins on January 22nd and ends on February 5th with the Lantern Festival. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, a zodiac animal representing smartness, elegance, and good luck.
The celebration begins on the evening before the Chinese New Year, and families reunite to have dinner together. After the meal, families stay up until early morning to "guard the year," say farewell to the previous year, and welcome the new year. As a part of the tradition, parents buy new clothes and put money in red envelopes for their kids to wish them luck. On the first day of the New Year, families use the ingredients they prepared the day before, including ground meats, vegetables and flour dough, to make dumplings. Some believe that dumplings have everything in their bellies, representing reunion, and it is also believed that dumplings look similar to ancient Chinese ingots that will bring wealth. In the following days, people visit temples to worship different gods, most commonly "Guan-yin, the goddess of mercy" and the God of Wealth, to wish for health, wealth, and fortune.
Lei Wang, Esq. is an attorney in the firm’s Philadelphia office.