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Year of the Pig - A Chinese New Year Celebration

Friday, February 1, 2019

Our New Year’s celebrations are well and truly over. Many of us have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions and Blue Monday has come and gone. While many of us are just about over the festive celebrations, many will be preparing for their own New Year’s celebration on the other side of the world in China. The date that the celebrations begin on all depends on the first Lunar Cycle of the year, waiting for the first new moon of 2019. Often referred to as The Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, the festive period comes to an end on the Lantern Festival. This year the celebrations begin on the 5th February and end on the 19th February.

While we are all now waiting for the next Bank Holiday for a long weekend, the Chinese festive period lasts 15 days with many Chinese people returning to work on the 8th day. During this time traditions are upheld. Most of this time will be spent with family and relatives and indulging in many activities, the majority of them used as a time for good company and good food. All of which is centred on bringing in the New Year and hopefully accumulating some good luck and fortune along the way.

Traditions and Superstitions

During the 15 days of celebration, banks and many shops will be closed. The Chinese will usually start quite early to prepare for the New Year. This will include travelling home to their families, stockpiling food and cleansing their homes of any bad luck. In this time, it is also tradition to decorate your homes ahead of the festive season.  After all, the festive period is a time of good fortune, wealth and happiness.

The Spring Festival travel season known as Chunyun, sees Chinese people travelling home to be with immediate families during the festive season. It is actually seen as the largest annual human migration in the world. This will take place in the week leading up to the Chinese New Year, with people making their way home especially for the New Year’s Eve traditional family meal, also known as the Reunion Dinner.  The Reunion Dinner is an occasion celebrating the last final gathering before the Near Year’s celebrations begin. Most important of all is the food that is eaten. The food consumed is often yellow or golden in colour. In Chinese culture, yellow is the colour of prosperity. The different foods a family will eat often have significant meanings. This is one of the many superstitions which are acted upon during the festive period.

One of the longest standing traditions is the use of fireworks during the festive period. According to legend, there was a monster called Nian which used to terrorise villagers during New Year’s Eve. This would cause the villagers to hide in their homes. However one brave villager decided to set off firecrackers to scare the monster off. From then on it has become a tradition for fireworks to be set off during the New Year’s Celebrations. Whether the myth is true, setting off fireworks is a tradition which is still carried out, with an annual televised fireworks display as well as families setting off their own fireworks.

During Chinese New Year, it is in your best interest to avoid any activities which may cause Bad Luck. The Chinese are superstitious people and will abide by a list of beliefs to amass good fortune which they can carry forward into the New Year. Popular beliefs include avoiding getting a haircut or eating porridge, as they will contribute towards experiencing an unfortunate New Year. Another superstition is that cleaning should be avoiding during New Year’s Day, they believe by cleaning your home you are cleaning away any good luck. Any breakages or accidents should be avoided at all costs and you should avoid crying. It is an especially easy time for children during the festive period as one superstition is to avoid being around someone who is crying. This means that parents will often bribe their children with treats to be on their best behaviours to avoid any tears. As these are long standing traditions, as intense as they sound, they have become second nature for Chinese people, these traditions has been passed down through the generations.

During the New Year period, it is wise to be mindful of your actions. The aim is to avoid any negativity that could impact on your upcoming year. The superstitions and traditions will help you create and maintain as much good luck as possible.  It is custom to give gifts during the New Year’s celebrations, it is actually considered to be one of the luckiest things someone can do.  A very popular tradition is the gifting of money in red envelopes to loved ones. The red envelopes are supposed to ward off evil spirits and to bring good fortune. There are even specific colours to gift. Red yellow and gold are all seen to be the colours of wealth and prosperity.

Chinese Zodiac – The Pig

If you keep up with Chinese Zodiac, you will know we are entering the Year of The Pig.  Similar to astrological zodiac signs as we see in western culture, people believe these zodiac signs carry personality traits and will even predict the future. The difference between astrological zodiac and Chinese zodiac is where as astrological zodiac goes through monthly cycles, the various Chinese zodiac signs have a whole year dedicated to them.

As you may have noticed the Chinese zodiac signs are actually animals. There are 12 animals in total and therefore the cycle runs for 12 years. People born in the years 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, will all be pigs in the terms of Chinese Zodiac. Each animal in the Chinese zodiac sign has their own personality traits. Those who are ‘pigs’ are often described as being blessed with good fortune and often have beautiful personalities.  Their views are seen to be quite realistic, and will often look at the bigger picture before jumping to conclusions. With that being said, they will rarely hold back.

‘Pigs’ are often described as gentle and humble people. However don’t let this fool you; they will often work tirelessly to seek our positions of power and status. They are strong people with very optimistic views. Their energetic and enthusiastic ways of thinking will often get them noticed. Pigs will often live their life to the fullest, and will often treat themselves when they see fit. They work hard and use this as motivation. They will often work towards a goal and will treat themselves appropriately afterwards.

Whether your Chinese Zodiac sign is a ‘Pig’ or not, why not treat yourself today to something from our Chinese New Year’s Range. Available to purchase now from the PAMP Lunar Series - Year of The Pig in 5 Gram Gold Bar, 1 Ounce Gold Bar & 8 x 1 Gram Gold Bars in the ‘Multigram’ packaging.

We also have the Lunar Series for the Perth Mint & Royal Mint One Ounce Gold coins. These coins are also available in silver. View our full Chinese New Year range here.