February 12 is the Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, as some refer to it. It is the biggest holiday in China, celebrating the end of Winter and welcoming the beginning of Spring. Symbolically, it is the opportunity to usher in new beginnings and leave any negativity of the previous year in the past. After 2020, I think this is something we are all looking forward to in 2021!
On the eve of the new year, it is tradition to hold an annual family reunion, with family members gathering to enjoy a large meal together and celebrate. In the north of China, delicious dumplings are enjoyed and, in the south, a sticky new year’s cake is shared. After dining, some families go to the local temple to pray for a prosperous new year, though some choose to stay home and have a party, complete with firecrackers to scare off evil spirits. The Lantern Festival is held on the 15th and last day of the celebration, with families walking down the street with lighted lanterns.
To prepare for the new year, homes and religious altars will be thoroughly cleaned, sweeping out bad luck and leaving room for good fortune in the coming year. Some will repaint their homes with red paint and hang paper cutouts with popular Chinese sayings or couplets written on them around the house.
2021 is the Year of the Ox, suggesting the need to work hard and stay focused to succeed in the coming year. This may resonate even more strongly considering the challenging events of 2020 but should be considered a positive opportunity to welcome a new start with fresh beginnings.
With COVID-19 cases increasing, especially around Beijing, Chinese authorities are urging the millions of people who usually travel to stay home and quarantine. Regardless of how you plan to celebrate, World Translation Center would like to wish all our Chinese friends a prosperous New Year full of peace and productivity!