RWC tutor Patricia Santiago shares knowledge about Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is a traditional Chinese festival that marks the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. The celebration typically lasts 15 days, this year beginning on February 10 and ending on February 24. As it quickly approaches, China and Chinese communities are filled with the radiant colors of red and gold. The colors matter beyond their aesthetic appeal as they hold great cultural significance. Let us explore the story and traditions between the two colors that lead the new lunar year.
Power of Red
The origin of the Chinese New Year is rooted in legend and mythology. In Chinese folklore, a mythical creature was known as Nian (Year). At the beginning of each new year, Nian would emerge to terrorize villagers by eating their crops, livestock, and children. The torture continued until the villagers discovered that the monster was afraid of bright lights, loud noises, and the color red. This prompted the people to begin using red decorations, lanterns, banners, firecrackers, and fireworks to ward off Nian. Since then, they have been protected from the beast. It has become a celebration of the safe passing into the New Year, and the power of red has continued to be used among generations to ward off evil spirits and bring joy and prosperity.
In the sea of red, gold accents complement the powerful color. In Chinese culture, gold represents wealth, abundance, and good luck. People often dress in the color and put up gold decorations during Chinese New Year as it is believed to bring blessings and positive energy to do so. While the gold color is often found on items such as lanterns, banners, and red envelopes; actual gold items are used as decorations in gold bars, jewelry, and coins. These items are often gifted to family and friends to show positive wishes towards them. For centuries, the color gold has been deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. The use of the color during Chinese New Year is also meant to honor ancestral traditions and old customs. Its use represents the connection between individuals and their ancestors.
The radiance of red and gold unity during the Chinese New Year goes beyond color, serving as a testament to the cultural depth and timeless traditions that shape this festive period. As we revel in the abundance of red and gold, let's toast to a year filled with good fortune and luck.