The 15 Days of Chinese New Year
(Days 08 - 15)
The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon on the first day of the first lunar month of the year. It continues for 15 days through the start of the full moon. Each of these 15 days has special traditions associated with it, as well as an animal birthday. According to Chinese legend, N�wa, the goddess who created the earth over a seven-day period, also created different animals on specific days, which is why each of the first seven days of the New Year is also known as the birthday of a certain animal.
Eighth day: Completion Day
With the creation of the world completed on the 7th day, the Eighth Day of the New Year is considered a mid-way point in the festival. People traditionally have a reunion dinner with their families and pray at midnight to the Jade Emperor.
Ninth day: Birthday of Jade Emperor
On the Ninth Day, the birthday of the Jade Emperor, also known as the God and Ruler of Heaven, is honored. Special offerings are made at home or at the temple to the Emperor.
Tenth through Twelfth Day
Visiting and feasting with friends and family continues through the 12th day of the New Year.
After nearly two weeks of rich and sweet foods, the 13th day is a time to refrain and exercise some culinary restraint. Rice congee and mustard greens are traditionally eaten, since they are thought to cleanse the digestive system.
Fourteenth day: Lantern Decoration Day
Preparations are made for the last day of the New Year, known as the Lantern Festival. Both adults and children make red paper lanterns, which will be carried by young people in an elaborate parade the following day.
Fifteenth day: Lantern Festival
The last day of the Chinese New Year is also the first day of the full moon, which is why this day is often referred to as the "First Night". Known as the Lantern Festival, this day features a large family dinner, in which oranges -- a symbol of good fortune -- and sweet dumplings -- resembling the shape of the moon -- are served. Throughout the day and into the evening, children carry their lanterns to the temples, symbolizing their desire to instill light among their families and communities.
In most Chinese communities, the New Year celebrations conclude with a grand parade in the evening. This evening features the most recognizable of all Chinese New Year symbols -- the dancing dragon. Made of bamboo, silk, and paper, the dragon may stretch as long as a hundred feet, with its bobbing head weaving in and out of the crowds.
The 15 Days of Chinese New Year: 01st - 07th days
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