Chinese New Year

 Chinese New Year will be on Feb., 1st, 2003

Chinese New Year in Philadelphia Chinatown is always a vibrant fusion of traditional culture and modern sophistication. This year 2003 - the arrival of the year of the Goat comes and the city's amazing celebrations  will be bigger, brighter and extremely exciting.

Every year, February 1st, on the stroke of midnight the celebration quickly begins, firecrackers blast and the traditional lion dance begins, happiness spreads throughout the town. So mark it on your calendar today, and get ready to say
"Kung Hei Fat Choy." .
Traditions of Chinese New Year

Even though the climax of the Chinese New Year, Nian, lasts only two or three days including the New Year's Eve, the New Year season extends from the mid-twelfth month of the previous year to the middle of the first month of the new year. A month from the New Year, it is a good time for business. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration material, food and clothing. Transportation department, railroad in particular, is nervously waiting for the onslaught of swarms of travelers who take their days off around the New Year to rush back home for a family reunion from all parts of the country.

Days before the New Year, every family is busy giving its house a thorough cleaning, hoping to sweep away all the ill-fortune there may have been in the family to make way for the wishful in-coming good luck. People also give their doors and window-panes a new paint, usually in red color. They decorate the doors and windows with paper-cuts and couplets with the very popular theme of "happiness", "wealth", "longevity" and "satisfactory marriage with more children". Paintings of the same theme are put up in the house on top of the newly mounted wall paper. In the old days, various kinds of food are tributed at the alta of ancestors.

Chinese New Year Colors

You probably have guessed correctly by now : the favorite colors during Chinese New Year are RED and GOLD. Red symbolizes happiness while Gold symbolizes wealth. As such, these two colors are predominant in most Chinese New Year decorations and greeting cards.

Tips : Black and white, on the other hand, are the "unlucky" colors avoided by most Chinese during the New Year.


The Eve of the New Year is very carefully observed. Supper is a feast, with all members coming together. One of the most popular course is jiaozi, dumplings boiled in water. "Jiaozi" in Chinese literally mean "sleep together and have sons", a long-lost good wish for a family. After dinner, it is time for the whole family to sit up for the night while having fun playing cards or board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the occasion. Every light is supposed to be kept on the whole night. At midnight, the whole sky will be lit up by fireworks and firecrackers make everywhere seem like a war zone. People's excitement reach its zenith.

Very early the next morning, children greet their parents and receive their presents in terms of cash wrapped up in red paper packages from them. Then, the family start out to say greetings from door to door, first their relatives and then their neighbors. It is a great time for reconciliation. Old grudges are very easily cast away during the greetings. The air is permeated with warmth and friendliness. During and several days following the New Year's day, people are visiting each other, with a great deal of exchange of gifs. The New Year atmosphere is brought to an anti-climax fifteen days away where the Festival of Lanterns sets in. It is an occasion of lantern shows and folk dances everywhere. One typical food is the Tang Yuan, another kind of dumplings made of sweet rice rolled into balls and stuffed with either sweet or spicy fillings.

Chinese New Year Philadelphia Chinatown is always a vibrant fusion of traditional culture and modern sophistication. In the year 2000 - when the arrival of the Year of the Dragon was part of the city's amazing Millennium celebrations - the party was be bigger, brighter and extremely exciting.

Every year, from the amazing Chinese New Year Parade and one of the , the City of Life promises you an unforgettable experience and a fascinating opportunity to soak up some traditional Chinese culture. So make a date today, and get ready to say "Kung Hei Fat Choy" .


One thing that makes Chinese children to look forward to the arrival of Chinese New Year is Hongbao or Laisi (in Hong Kong). It's a red little envelope which contains cash gifts (in even denominations like $8 or $12 for luck). All unmarried children are eligible to receive Hongbao, but do make sure that you first greet your elders or married friends :
GONG XI FA CAI! 鳩 炰 楷 笙

Spring Cleaning & Taboos

Yes, Chinese will do a Spring cleaning a few days before the New Year to spruce up the home as well as to get rid off of old stuff. And then, right after the New Year Eve dinner is over and the home is clean, all brooms and kitchen knifes will be kept away. During the first day of the New Year, not only is one not supposed to utter any unlucky words such as "death" and "accident", one is also forbidden to touch the brooms and knifes, for they may sweep in bad luck and cause misfortune. If one accidentally breaks the dishes, one must quickly utter "sui sui ping an" or "tai kat lai si" (in Cantonese).


Fire Crackers and Lion Dance

Fire crackers and lion dance are almost synonymous with Chinese New Year. Fire crackers were used to chase away the mythical monster, Nian, which once terrorized the people. But over time, their loud noises have been used to create the jovial, holiday mood. If you hear this, you'll know that Chinese New Year is just around the corner.

Lion dance is a remarkable piece of performance art and sports. Normally performed by 2 people, it takes years of training and practice before one can be good enough to give a public performance. It's no surprise that many lion dancers are also practitioners of Chinese martial arts, or Kung Fu.

Today, fire crackers and lion dance can also be found during auspicious events such as grand opening day of a new business

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