By: Jing Zhao

Many friends wonder why the Chinese New Year occurs in February,  and not on January 1st. The reason is that Chinese people celebrate Chinese New Year using the lunar Calendar. The day of the Chinese New Year- February 8th– is the first day of the new year in the lunar Calendar.

This year, 2016, is the Year of the Monkey. The Chinese zodiac includes 12 animals, specifically the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Since there are 12 animals, it takes 12 years to cycle through the entire zodiac. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, and next year is the Year of the Rooster. The old saying goes that different animals represent different personalities. People born in different year may have different characteristics. For example, people who are born in the Year of the Monkey will be extremely curious and thirsty for knowledge.

During the Chinese New Year period,Chinese people will gather with family members to celebrate together. On the eve of the Chinese New Year, the whole family will sit on the sofa and watch Chinese New Year Gala on CCTV, which is a transitional event for each family nowadays. Usually, at the 12:00 am, fathers and sons will go out to set off firecrackers, which signals the coming of the New Year.

On the first day of the Chinese New Year, Chinese people will stay at home to cook delicious food, such as Jiao Zi, noodles, fish, spring rolls, sticky rice cakes, chicken, and pork. There are so many different foods serving on the table. The Chinese tradition is that every day from the first day of the New Year until the 15th day of the New Year, each family will have different main courses to eat. On the 15th day, Chinese people will eat Tang Yuan, stuffed rice balls, which implies the entire family will reunite next year. This is because after that day, people have to go back to school or work. The whole family will separate again, and wait until next year, when they will gather again.

The other tradition for Chinese New Year is visiting older family member. Kids will bless good health to the older people, and in turn, kids can get lucky money from them. Kids always get a lot of money during their visits with older family members. They can use the money to buy books for the coming semester or some snacks.

In all, Chinese New Year is the time for family reunions, as well as for them to relax and rest for the entire year’s hard work. On the 8th of February, to celebrate Chinese New Year, Chinese Knot, a Chinese Association at UPEI, will hold a potluck for celebrating Chinese New Year early at Macmillan Hall on 6th February, at 5:00 pm till 8:00 pm. Join Chinese Knot and celebrate the Chinese New Year as a big family.