Good question huh? And this is not a festivity celebrated by all. Yet Verizon Wireless actually opened a Lunar New Year Essay Contest with this topic to kickoff the Year of the Tiger for those in California and Seattle.
The Lunar New Year is a time of great festivity and celebration. Everything loud and colourful is associated with it. The red packet, red clothing, red banners, red paper cuttings on doors, the fireworks and fire crackers and yes the lion dances too.
When I think of the Lunar New Year I associate it with 3 things, the first of which is Spring.
The Lunar New Year is sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival. While the first day of spring in the U.S. is considered to be around March 20 or 21, the official first day of Spring according to the Chinese lunar calendar fell on February 4th (立春). With that, the Year of the Tiger has taken over from the Year of the Ox.
Spring time is when flowers begin to bloom and animals come out of hibernation. It signifies life and vitality. The Chinese have a saying too that "A day’s planning is done in the morning while a year’s planning is done in spring" (一日之计在于晨, 一年之计在于春).
It is the time to make plans for the entire year. If you had made your New Year resolutions on 1st January, this is a good time to review how far you have come. If you had not managed to make any plans yet, this is another opportunity for you to do so.
Spring spells freshness and life, and with it, hope and power. Time to welcome the dawn of a new life!
Second thing I associate with the Lunar New Year is the massive and thorough Spring cleaning before the New Year. Traditionally, we work to get rid of the old and make way for the new. Everything used for the new year period “should” be new or at least cleaned out thoroughly. One would use new utensils, new curtains, new coat of paint, new clothing and of course new shoes.
From the kitchen to the closets, from the living room to the store room. Every corner is to be scrubbed and cleaned out thoroughly. This is a great practice and it does wonders to me physically, mentally and emotionally.
There’s something very liberating about tidying, organizing, de-cluttering and cleaning. I can do with some spring cleaning now and then. The cleaning is then followed by decorations, stocking up of food supplies and preparation of the day long feasts!
Third thing I associate with the Lunar New Year is the priority given to Friends and Family. Chines New Year is the time for family reunions and gatherings. This is the peak time for migration of people back to the suburban areas. Do not go near train or bus stations unless you need to go home to your family living outside of town.
Days before the eve of the New Year, work begins to wind down, traffic builds up and the festive mood grows in anticipation of celebration, fun and joy. This is the time where everyone makes conscious effort to leave work temporarily aside and give priority to family, kins and friends. In China, there is a week-long public holiday. In Malaysia, most Chinese entrepreneurs take a break of at least a week.
This is the time to be with the family. Once a year, everything stops; family and relationships are consciously placed before work or business.
What does the Lunar New Year mean to me?
Amidst the busy-ness, the hustle and bustle, I look forward to the Lunar Near Year as a time of hope, a fresh start and a time to cherish the ones beside me. A time for New Year Visits (拜年). Come celebrate with me. You too can enjoy this Spring Festival! 祝大家 新年进步，新年快了
Oh and feel free to press the "share this" button below or retweet it and spread the joy of the Lunar New Year! Your friends will thank you for the digital (online) new year wishes and visit (拜年).