Tom and I spent the weekend in Las Vegas. Everywhere we went there were fabulously elaborate decorations of dragons and lanterns in celebration of the Chinese New Year (which falls on February 3rd this year) Oh, and rabbits! 2011 is the 'Year of the Rabbit'. I was so intrigued, when I got home last night I decided to do a little research to see what the Chinese New Year is all about.
The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to "catch up" with the solar calendar the Chinese insert an extra month once every few years (seven years out of a 19-year cycle). This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors. The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!