Chinese New Year 2014: Everything You Need to Know About Lunar New Year and the Year of the Horse

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By jaskiran kaur | January 31, 2014 12:17 AM EST

By end of January, it is the time to welcome Chinese New Year 2014. The Lunar New Year is the biggest and the most significant celebration in China being observed worldwide by the Chinese.

It is the year's longest festivities for people during spring. Below are everything that you need to know about the Chinese New Year 2014.

About Lunar New Year Celebrations (Facts)

Chinese New Year commences at the end of January or the beginning of February. This year it starts on Jan. 31 marking the first day of the first lunar month. It is the 4712 year according to the Chinese calendar.

Chinese New Year is one of the longest celebrations as it is carried out for 15 days. It begins with the first new moon of the Lunar New Year and ends on the full moon day.

Celebrations are marked with parades, dinners, reunions, exchange gifts, food festivals, lion dances, dragons and more. People follow year-old traditions during the two-week celebrations and hold reunion dinners.

Cleaning and decorating the houses are major rituals of the Chinese New Year celebration. All these are done before New Year's Eve day.

Food is one of the key elements of this spring festival. Chinese dumplings, fish, spring rolls and traditional cakes called Nian Gao are the main dishes for the occasion.

Chinese New Year is known by several names. It is called Lunar New Year, Spring Festival and Gua Nian in Chinese.

According to the legend, Nian is a mythical beast or a big-horned monster residing at the bottom of the sea who came out on the first day of the year. He ate children, livestock and crops of the villagers. To prevent Nian from devouring over their food and children, villagers started a practice of stocking up food in front of their doors for the monster.

Red clothing and firecrackers are other essential elements of the Chinese New Year. Their importance originates from the legend of Nian. It is believed using red color and burning of firecrackers started because the monster is scared of these. Since then, color red in the form of flags and paper hangings and firecrackers have become an indispensable part of the Lunar New Year celebrations.

Chinese New Year 2014: Day-By-Day Celebrations

Each day of the 16 days of celebration of the Chinese New Year has its own traditions and rituals. Each day marks an important celebration, the last day being the Lantern Festival held on the 15th day.

Day 1 is the beginning of the year. Day 2 is when people visit friends and relatives as part of the celebrations. On Day 3, people stay home as it is not considered auspicious for socializing.

On Day 4, people worship gods and welcome kitchen god, god of fortune and other gods essential to their traditions and culture.

On Day 5, the Po Wu Festival is celebrated and on this day taboos can be broken and activities are carried out normally. Day 6 of the Chinese New Year is the day also known as "Ma Ri," which can be translated to "The Day of the Horse." On this day, people send away the ghosts of poverty.

On Day 7, it is referred to as day of humans, the day when god created human beings. People follow different traditions to celebrate this day.

On Day 8, people celebrate the birthday of millet, which is a significant crop in China.

On Day 9, it is the birthday of Jade Emperor or the supreme deity of Taoists.

On Day 10, it is the birthday of god of stone.

On Day 11, it brings an interesting celebration where fathers-in-law are expected to entertain their sons-in-law.

On Day 12, it is important as the people prepare for the final celebrations of the Lantern Festival.

On Day 13, different parts of China celebrate this day in different ways. While southern part of China takes this day as appreciating and seeing lanterns, people from northern part of China observe this day as ominous day.

On Day 14 and Day 15 are marked as the days of celebration of the Lantern Festival.

Chinese New Year 2014: Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year 2014 or Lunar New Year 2014 will welcome the year of the horse. According to which, people who are born under the year of the horse are cheerful, hard-working but impatient. They are also independent and intelligent.

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