Chinese New Year is almost here – Celebrate with us!

春节 快乐! Chūnjié kuàilè! Happy Spring festival!

This article will tell you everything you need to know about Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival! Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese holiday and is celebrated around the world. This year, it will start on the 12th of February and unlike the Western New Year, the celebrations last for 15 days. Each day has its own traditions and rituals that you will read about below. The date of this traditional holiday changes every year as it is based on the lunar calendar which is used by many in the Asia and differs from the Western solar-based calendar. Every year in the calendar, or “lunar year”, is represented by an animal from the Chinese zodiacs and 2021 is the year of the Ox.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year is a holiday to look forward to! Long before the first day of the new year, people busy themselves with preparing their homes, food, and even clothes. During Chinese New Year, family is a central component of most traditions. Therefore, various activities are organized throughout the country to celebrate and be connected with family members. This includes making offerings to ancestors, praying for prosperity and happiness in the new year, expelling evil spirits, and making plans for reunion with family and friends.

‘One of the most important parts of Chinese New Year is the family dinner’

Another important tradition is to say goodbye to the “old” and to welcome the “new,” called “辞旧迎新” “Cí jiù yíngxīn” in Chinese. This is accomplished by thoroughly cleaning the house and decorating it with New Year decorations such as paper cuttings, spring couplets and the character 福 fú which means happiness or good luck. This character is hung upside down like a horseshoe, people believe hanging it upside down keeps the luck from falling out! One of the most important parts of Chinese New Year is the family dinner. Every year a mass migration occurs in China as people return to their hometown to celebrate the New Year together.

Another New Year tradition,  is handing out red envelopes containing money to children or employees, better known as 红包 Hóngbāo. Fireworks are also set off and you can watch dragon and lion dances in the streets.

Chinese Zodiacs

The Chinese zodiac animals are often compared to the well-known astrology-based horoscopes, but the variation in animals is not the only way these systems are different. The horoscopes, based on Western astronomy, are associated with the birth month and position of stars, whereas Chinese zodiacs are assigned according to the year of birth. There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac system: rat 鼠 shǔ, ox 牛 niú, tiger 虎 hǔ, rabbit 兔 tù, dragon 龙 lóng, snake 蛇 shé, horse 马 mǎ, goat 羊 yáng, monkey 猴 hóu, rooster 鸡 jī, dog 狗 gǒu and pig 猪 zhū.

Each animal occurs once every 12 years, but in relationship with the 5 elements (wood, fire, earth, water and metal) the cycle is only complete after 60 years. This year 2021 is the year of the metal ox.

2021 The year of the Ox 牛 niú

What does the year of the ox mean besides marking a place in the zodiac cycle? Each zodiac animal has their own characteristics and people born in that animal’s year are said to embody these qualities. The ox, the second animal of the zodiac, is known as a hard worker, linked to its typical role in the farming industry. In addition, the ox is known for its diligence, independence, discipline, honesty and reliability. People born in the year of the ox are often seen as the perfect employee or student. Oxen chase their dreams and are ambitious and goal oriented. That being said, stubbornness and closeness are also typical ox characteristics. Did you know that the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was also born in the year of the metal ox (1961).

Every year, CIM celebrates Chinese New Year with a number of festivities where you can learn more about the cultural traditions mentioned above. Normally, we like to do this together on location at our institute or in the city of Maastricht, and while that isn’t possible this year, we are excited to announce our online program!

What can you expect? We kick off the celebration of Chinese New Year on February 13 with an especially tasty workshop “Make your own Chinese jiaozi”! Everyone is welcome to participate! See the full workshop program below:

Dumpling workshop (online)

Tia from Confucius Institute Maastricht will teach how you can make your own dumplings! The live or follow along cooking session will start at 3:00 pm and will take about one hour. However a few preparations are necessary, so make sure to start on time. The grocery list and instructions will be sent to you after you registration.

TIME: SATURDAY 13-02-2021 15:00 

Click here to register for the dumpling workshop!

Language workshop ‘Chinese culture through language glasses’

An interactive language workshop where you will be introduced to the many aspects of the Chinese language & culture followed by a Q&A session where you can ask the host all your questions!

TIME: MONDAY 22-02-2021  13:00-14:00

Click here to register for the language workshop!

On the day of the event, you will receive the link with which you can access the activity. We look forward to virtually celebrating with you!

New Course Schedule is Now Online!

Register now, courses start in the first week of March. 

Click Here