Today marks the beginning if the Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Han Chinese populations, such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Also known as the Spring Festival because the plants and flowers begin to come back to life after the winter it last for 15 days.
Customs vary widely among the Chinese one thing is certain this is a national holiday and the entire country of China closes down because workers go home to their native villages to celebrate with their family. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. Married Couples and the elderly give Red Envelopes filled with New Year's Money to young children and unmarried people to wish them a year of luck and prosperity these red envelopes contain an even amount of money. When I was living in Hong Kong in the weeks leading up to the Chinese New Year in the more upscale stores and banks they give you a package of Red Envelopes and stores sell ornately decorated ones for people to buy. Red and Gold are seen everywhere hanging from doors, adorning lobbies of buildings, on the gates of homes, and in everyone's clothing. The people of Hong Kong will use any excuse to decorate and party an Chinese New Year is no exception. Here is a video walking tour of some amazing decorations.
The Lion Dance is a brilliant and deafening display of drums, lion dancers, and color. The Lion Dancers walk down the street and stop in every store and restaurant to wish the establishment a year of prosperity and wealth. It takes a while to go from one place to the next as they have an entire entourage of followers and performers with them. Being there in person it is so loud that as the lions were walking around the community I was in my apartment and could hear them with the windows and doors closed. I decided if I couldn't get away from the noise to join them so I went to our Plaza area where all the stores and restaurants are and watched them dance. This is a long video but as it progresses you can see the lions dancing in the store.
Have a very Happy Chinese New Year and a Happy Valentine's Day.
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