Monday, February 8, marked the start of the year of the monkey and the opening of the Chinese Lunar New Year, a celebration of living family, ancestors, and good fortune in the year ahead.
Known as the Spring Festival in China, it is the most important holiday in the country and in Chinese communities around the world. The New Year celebration is a week-long public holiday that closes schools and businesses. It is also one of the busiest travel periods in countries with large Chinese populations, as students and workers return home to spend time with their extended families.
Comfort in Ancient Gods
But once people reached their families, they took to temples and holiday fairs to pray for good health and fortune on Monday. Hundreds of thousands of people visited traditional fairs in the parks of Beijing, and Buddhist and Taoist temples that held singing and dance performances and craft markets.
"Chinese people revere the power of nature and believe in gods, so we hope to express our blessings and that the gods can hear us," Ms. Meng, a travel agent, told the Associated Press. "It's also a way for us to find some comfort."
Comfort in Family
Comfort is also found around the dinner table, as extended family gathers for a feast on New Year’s Eve that traditionally includes fish as a last course, as it is considered a symbol of abundance that is not meant to be eaten, as The History Channel explains. People do eat long noodles in the first several days of the new year as a symbol of long life. On the final day of the celebration, families traditionally eat dumplings shaped like the full moon to honor the family unit and perfection.
Source: Thanks for the Christian Science Monitor,
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