The Chinese New Year starts today and we say goodbye to the year of the snake and hello to the year of the horse. Each of the animals that are used to represent one of the 12 cycles of the new year have come to have their own meaning.
The horse represents wood, one of the 5 Chinese natural elements. It symbolizes stability and hard work. Chinese families will start the year off with some traditions that they hope will make their lives better and with the help of the horse, more stable. Some of these traditions may seem silly, but to the Chinese, they are the only way to ensure a good year.
Many Chinese families celebrate the start of the new year with a traditional meal. Common foods served during these meals include chicken, rice and vegetables. To the Chinese, chicken is a symbol of happiness and prosperity and eating it will help make sure you start the new year off right.
Some Chinese families believe that what you do on the first day of the Chinese New Year will affect your luck for the entire year.
Some families do not wash their hair because they fear it will wash away good luck. Other Chinese traditions associated with luck and the Chinese New Year include not using sharp objects to avoid cutting away one's luck and wearing red which is a symbol of luck in the Chinese culture.
One of the most common Chinese New Year traditions is fireworks. Many Chinese families will either set off their own fireworks at their homes or attend a fireworks display set off by a business or city. Fireworks are believed to scare away evil spirits and are a sign of celebration.
Do you celebrate the Chinese New Year and if so, what is your favorite tradition?
Image via Wikimedia Commons.