While some popular U.S. holidays are just around the corner, so too is the Chinese New Year. Also known as the “Spring Festival” in modern China, the day is celebrated at the beginning of Chinese calendar. Maybe you remember that 2017 was the year of the Rooster. In 2018, however, the year of the Dog will be initiated Friday, February 16th. Keep reading to learn more about the Chinese New Year and how you can celebrate with the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center.
Chinese New Year History
Long ago, the New Year festival served as a time to honor deities and ancestors. Legend has it that things all started with a mythical beast called the Nian. This beast was known for eating villagers, especially children. Then one year, all the villagers except one decided to hide from Nian. It turned out that one was an old man wanting to seek revenge on the beast. So he went out and put red papers out and set off firecrackers. The following day, the villagers came back to see their town had not been destroyed like was usually the case. They came to realize that Nian was afraid of the color red and loud noises. Thanks to the old man, a tradition began. Whenever the New Year was about to come, the villagers would wear red clothes, hang red lanterns, and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. Not to mention, everyone used firecrackers to frighten away Nian. Never again did the beast wreak havoc in the village. In fact, he was eventually captured by an ancient Taoist monk named Hongjun Laozu.
Each day of the Chinese New Year brings something different. That said, Chinese families place great importance on the days immediately before the celebration. For example, they usually give their homes a thorough cleaning. It’s believed the cleaning literally sweeps away the bad luck of the previous year and makes their homes ready to receive good luck. Brooms and dustpans are then put away on the first day of the New Year so that newly arrived good luck can’t be swept away by mistake. The days before aren’t just intended for cleaning, though. Purchasing new shoes and clothing symbolize a fresh start. Interestingly, haircuts must be completed beforehand, as cutting hair on New Year is thought to bring bad luck. Lastly, businesses are expected to pay off outstanding debt from the previous year.
Let’s look at the rest of the festivities:
- New Year’s Eve – The annual Reunion dinner is the biggest part of any Chinese New Year’s Eve. The meal is comparable to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
- First day – Those celebrating use the first day to honor one’s elders, while families visit the oldest and most senior members.
- Second day – Traditionally, the second day was reserved for married daughters being given a chance to visit their birth parents, relatives, and close friends.
- Third day – Day three is considered an unlucky day to host guests or go visiting for that matter. Those celebrating use the third day as a chance to visit the temple of the God of Wealth and have one’s future told.
- Fourth day – For those who celebrate Chinese New Year, this is when spring dinners begin and businesses return to normal.
LVPAC’s Chinese New Year Celebration
The Chinese New Year may still be a few months away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be excited about it! As with our other cultural arts programs, you can expect the event we hold to include plenty of music, dancing, food, crafts, clothing, and other traditions. Be sure to come back to the website for additional details as we get closer to February 16th.
Performing Arts Education Outreach
Arts education is a big part of what we do at the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center. Our ultimate goal is for every student in the area to experience the arts on a regular basis. It’s why we offer many fun educational activities and free monthly family events. We even put on workshops and master classes with visiting artists. Keep in mind that portions of our activities and cultural arts programs, in particular, are underwritten through generous contributions and matching gifts to our education fund.
Now is the perfect time to become a member of our performing arts center. From theatre performances to live music, we have something the whole family will love.