Here is a list of a few popular and not so well know Chinese New Year festivals from around the world. Be sure to join in the celebration where ever you are.
Butte, Montana USA
MaiWah.org
 
Chicago, Illinois USA
Chicagochinatown.org
 
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong Tourism
 
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Chinatownhi.com
 
London, England
London.Gov.Uk
 
Los Angeles, California USA
LaGoldenDragonParade.com
 
Melbourn, Australia
VisitVictoria.com
 
New York City, New York USA
ExploreChinaTown.com
 
San Diego, California USA
sandiegochinese.net
 
SanFrancisco, California USA
(one of the biggest celebrations in the USA)
ChineseParade.com
 
San Gabriel, California, USA
lunarnewyearparade.com
 
Sydney, Australia
CityOfSydney.nsw.gov.au
 
Toronto, Canada
Toronto.com
Five Elements &
YIN-YANG Dualism

The five elements 五行 (Jp = Gogyou, Ch = Wu Hsing) are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The five were combined with the binary Yin-Yang system — Yin (Jp = in) and Yang (Jp = you) — resulting in ten "alternative" readings for the ten stems. In the 60-year cycle, odd years were classified as YANG years, even years as YIN. Even today, when the 60-year cycle reaches completion, some people in Japan who are 60-years of age hold a special birthday ceremony called kanreki 還暦. Additionally, Chinese ideas of illness, especially Taoist notions of illness as caused by imbalances of yin and yang forces in the body, were introduced to Japan probably by the late Nara or early Heian periods. Taoist notions embodied various concepts of the Zodiac calendar.

In China, the first celebrated exponent of the five-element theory was Tsou Yen (350 - 270 BC). The five energies were symbolized as (1) wood, which as fuel gives rise to (2) fire, which creates ash and gives rise to (3) earth, which in its mines contains (4) metal, which (as on the surface of a metal mirror) attracts dew and so gives rise to (5) water, and this in turn nourishes (1) wood. This is called hsiang sheng (相生), or the "mutually arising" order/cycle of the fundamental forces. These forces were also arranged in the order of "mutual conquest" (相勝) — likewise read hsiang sheng, but sheng is a different ideogram -- in which (1) wood, in the form of a plow, overcomes (2) earth, which, by damming and constraint, conquers (3) water which, by quenching, overcomes (4) fire which, by melting, liquifies (5) metal, which, in turn, cuts (1) wood.

Quoted from "TAO, The Watercourse Way" by Alan Watts.

Chinese New Year - 2009 - Year of the Ox

History of Chinese New Year Year of the Ox 牛

Chinese New Year, known in Chinese as the Spring Festival (Simplified Chinese: 春节; Traditional Chinese: 春節; pinyin: Chūnjié) or the Lunar New Year (Simplified Chinese: 农历新年; Traditional Chinese: 農曆新年; pinyin: Nónglì xīnnián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The Chinese New Year festival begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) of the Chinese calendar, and ends on the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the month.

Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxì (除夕). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "night".

It is unclear when the beginning of the year was celebrated before the Qin Dynasty. It is possible that the beginning of the year began with month 1 during the Xia Dynasty, month 12 during the Shang Dynasty, and month 11 during the Zhou Dynasty in China. We know that intercalary months, used to keep the lunar calendar synchronized with the sun, were added after month 12 during both the Shang Dynasty (according to surviving oracle bones) and the Zhou Dynasty (according to Sima Qian). In 104 BC, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty established month 1 as the beginning of the year, where it remains.

According to legend, in ancient China, the nián (年), a man-eating beast from the mountains, could silently infiltrate houses to prey on humans. The people later learned that the nian was sensitive to loud noises and the color red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the color red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations. Guò nián (Simplified Chinese: 过年; Traditional Chinese: 過年), which means to celebrate the new year, literally means the passing of the nian beast.

Celebrated internationally in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered to be a major holiday for the Chinese as well as ethnic groups who were strongly influenced by Chinese culture. This includes Japanese, Koreans, Miao (Chinese Hmong), Mongolians, Vietnamese, Tibetans, the Nepalese and the Bhutanese (see Losar).

Chinese New Year is also the time of the the largest human migration, when overseas Chinese all around the world return home on the eve of Chinese New Year to have reunion dinners with their families.

The Ox (牛) is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Ox is denoted by the earthly branch character 丑 Vietnamese zodiac, the water buffalo occupies the position of the ox. More accurately, Year 2009 is a Chinese Brown Earth (Soil) Cow Year.

In China, the Ox (牛) of Chinese Astrology is no bull in a china shop. Steadfast and solid, this powerful Sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. Oxen tend to be plodding and methodical; they approach projects in the step-by-step manner that serves them best, and they never lose sight of their goal. They are tireless workers who are detail-oriented and believe in doing things right the first time.

The world may perceive Oxen as being far too serious or incapable of loosening up. This sturdy sort is less than social by nature and tends to become introverted in a crowd. To make things worse, they can't be bothered with what other people think and prefer to do what makes them feel best. Behind that calm facade, though, lives an Ox who can feel hurt, lonely and unable to connect with others. Friends and family are a great source of comfort to this beast, even if they don't always understand what makes the Ox tick. As a lover, friend, family member or housemate, the Ox makes a wonderfully strong, tender and affectionate companion who is protective and always reliable.

Out in the world, though, Oxen tend to be stubborn, dogmatic, my-way-or-the-highway kind of people who have no concept of when to back down. Oxen don't care to be pushed, especially since they think they're the good guys of the Chinese Zodiac. There is some truth to that theory, since the Ox is smart, trustworthy, caring and honorable. If you need honest, steady and unbiased advice, call on the Ox.

A good lesson for mighty Oxen is to strive to overcome a judgmental nature that keeps them from getting close to others. If they can learn to value their own good qualities, they'll have more room in their hearts to invite others in.

The Chinese Lunar New Year 4706 (January 26, 2009) which is also known by its former name of Ji Chou (己丑).

Traditions

House Cleaning

The entire house should be cleaned before New Year's Day. On New Year's Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dustpans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. After New Year's Day, the floors may be swept.
 
In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold, you will sweep one of the family away. Also, to sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door.

The 15-Days of Chinese New Year

The first day of the Lunar New Year is the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and Earth. Many people abstain from meat on the first day of the New Year because it is believed that this will ensure long and happy lives for them.
 
On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well. 
 
The third and fourth days are for the sons-in-laws to pay respect to their parents-in-law.
 
The fifth day is called Po Woo. On that day people stay home to welcome the God of Wealth. No one visits families and friends on the fifth day because it will bring both parties bad luck.
 
On the sixth day, the Chinese visit their relatives and friends freely.
 
The seventh day of the New Year is the day for farmers to display their produce. The seventh day is also considered the birthday of human beings.
 
On the eighth day the Fujian people have another family reunion dinner, and at midnight they pray to Tian Gong, the God of Heaven.
 
The ninth day is to make offerings to the Jade Emperor.
 
The 10th through the 12th are days that friends and relatives should be invited for dinner. After so much rich food, on the 13th day you should have simple rice congee and mustard greens (choi sum).

The 14th day should be for preparations to celebrate the Lantern Festival, which is to be held on the 15th night.

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