News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

Check out the magazine:

Magazine archives

Chinese New Year: the year of the dragon


Chinese New Year takes place on Saturday, Feb. 10, making this year the year of the Dragon. 

Chinese New Year is also commonly referred to as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. This holiday and festival is in honor of the beginning of the New Year in correlation to the lunisolar Chinese calendar. This is a traditional Chinese calendar that bases its years, months, and dates on astronomical and lunar cycle observations.

 One month in a lunisolar calendar marks one rotation of the moon around the Earth. Each Chinese Year has a corresponding animal originating from the Chinese Zodiac cycle. This cycle consists of 12 animal signs: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. The cycle starts in order with the Rat and ends the year with the Pig before restarting. According to National Geographic Kids, legend says those born in each animal’s year have similar characteristics to that animal.

This holiday is celebrated in many ways and is the biggest festival celebrated in China. Chinese New Year is typically celebrated for 16 days and the first seven days are considered a public holiday. This year it lasts from Feb.10 to Feb. 26, with Feb. 10 to Feb. 17 being the public holiday. Finally, the holiday comes to a close with a Lantern Festival. Here, there will be more fireworks, sweet dumplings to eat, and the lighting and watching of lanterns. 

“The highlight of the Lantern Festival is the Dragon Dance. Beautiful dragons made of paper, silk, and bamboo are held overhead, and appear to dance as they make their way along the parade routes,”  CNN wrote in their Lunar New Year Fast Facts article. 

While the biggest celebrations take place in China itself, many towns and cities will hold their own parades and local celebrations, including locally in San Francisco.

“The upcoming Chinese New Year Parade will be held on Feb. 24, 2024,” the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco website states.

Many families participate in their at-home celebrations as well.

“I love celebrating Chinese New Year with my family, we usually make dumplings together and decorate the house with red lanterns,” Tamalpais High School senior Samantha Murphy said.

According to the Chinese New Year website, the years associated with the dragon are 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, and 1952. The dragon represents power, energy, vitality, romance, and more.

While there are many myths associated with this holiday, one of the most popular is the one of the mythical dragon Nian. Nian sounds the same as the word “year” in Chinese. Nian lives at the bottom of the sea and shows up every lunar new year and eats people and animals. To scare away the beast people put up red paper and wore red clothes. They also lit candles, firecrackers, and burned bamboo. These have become some of the well-known traditions of the celebration of Chinese New Year today which has been around for over 3,500 years.

“[Dragons] know exactly who they are and possess the keenest sense of self among the 12 zodiacs of Chinese astrology,” the Chinese New Year website states.

Moreover, the colors blue and purple, and the numbers six and eight are lucky symbols for dragons, while the colors black and red, and the numbers four and nine should be avoided.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All The Tam News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *