While for those in the West, the New Year begins on January 1st, for the millions of people in China and elsewhere in Asia the New Year does not start until the first day of the first lunar month of the Chinese calendar. While in the West, the day is celebrated over the course of only two days – New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, China celebrates its New Year until the 15th day.
If you want to celebrate the Chinese New Year in 2012, you should keep in mind that the festivities will begin on January 23rd and you should keep in mind some of the most common symbols of the celebration, such as the lantern.
The Lantern in Chinese New Year Celebrations
Most of us are familiar with traditional Chinese paper lanterns because they are commonly available at most party supply stores and even online party vendors because they make great decorations for outdoor parties. Well, these lanterns also play a major role in the Chinese New Year celebration. Throughout the areas, the streets are decorated with very distinct lanterns – they are usually oval-shaped and are red, an important color for the New Year because it is considered a powerful force for driving away evil and bad luck.
Those lanterns are not the same as the ones you’ll see in the traditional Lantern Festival which is held on the last day of the celebration. These lanterns are more elaborately decorated. People sometimes even paint their lanterns with pictures of flowers, animals, even the twelve signs of the zodiac. The lanterns are hung in temples and are carried by people to the evening parade.
One of the most well-known parts of the Lantern Festival is probably the dragon dance. These dragons can be as long as 100 feet and are carried by men below. Most dragons are made from a combination of paper, bamboo, and silk. They are very colorful and enjoyable to watch as they wind their way down the street past the crowds.
Celebrating Chinese New Year with Lanterns
Obviously, if you want to celebrate Chinese New Year, it’s a good idea to stock up on these beautiful lanterns. And remember that the lanterns aren’t just considered party decorations. They are an important symbol of hope and light at the beginning of the next year.
In fact, regardless of whether you are celebrating the Chinese or the Western New Year, you might want to consider sending out lantern-themed invitations, such as Cocktails , or Chinese Lanterns. At the start of another year, everyone can definitely use plenty of hope for a better or another great one.
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