You don’t have to be Chinese to enjoy and appreciate the celebration of Chinese New Year because the holiday is rooted in familiarity.
If you put the fellowship of Thanksgiving, the celebration of the Fourth of July and the newness of Easter and infused it all with love and warm wishes, you will understand the essence of the annual holiday celebrated by Chinese and embraced by others.
“A lot of Chinese people in America are going home for the New Year,” said Fang (pronounced fong) Lin, owner of Hong Kong Supermarket in Myrtle Beach. “There will be a lot of fireworks and the dragon will be dancing in the street. Here, in America, we don’t have all the celebrations because we are working, working, working.”
In China, Lin said families relish the holiday by staying together and enjoying each other’s company while feasting, watching television and sharing hopes for the happier, luckier times.
The Chinese New Year – the most important and longest celebration in the Chinese calendar – is usually a 15-day holiday, with the first five days and the last day customarily being the most festive. This year, the year of the dragon, begins Monday. The dragon, according to “Chinese Astrology” by Sabrina Liao, is a “noble animal symbol [that] has represented the Chinese emperors for centuries,” causing Chinese parents to hope for a dragon child.
“On Chinese New Year’s Eve, everybody watches the [CCTV] New Year’s Gala,” said Hong Li, a former chemistry instructor at Coastal Carolina University who lives in Myrtle Beach.
“Everybody in China watches that show while making dumplings. It is a very big deal. I pretty much watch it every year on the Internet.”
Once the Chinese New Year is ushered in, fireworks, mostly firecrackers, are heard piercing the air.
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