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
VisitLondon.com
 
Los Angeles, California USA
LaGoldenDragonParade.com
 
Melbourn, Australia
VisitVictoria.com
 
New York City, New York USA
ExploreChinaTown.com
 
San Diego, California USA
sdchinesecenter.org
 
SanFrancisco, California USA
(one of the biggest celebrations in the USA)
ChineseParade.com
 
San Gabriel, California, USA
lunarnewyearparade.com
 
Sydney, Australia
sydneychinesenewyear.com
 
Toronto, Canada
experienceto.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 - 2013 - Year of the Snake

History of Chinese New Year Year of the Snake 蛇

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 Snake (蛇) is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac and related to the Chinese calendar, as well as in related East Asian zodiacal or calendrical systems. The Year of the Snake is associated with the earthly branch symbol 巳. The year 2013 in the Chinese calendar is the Year of the (Water) Snake. It began on February 10, 2013 and will end on January 30, 2014. According to traditional texts, some form of the calendar has been in use for almost five millennia. Based on archaeological evidence some form of it has been in use for three and a half millennia. The Chinese year beginning February 5, 2013 is reckoned in the seldom-used continuously numbered system to be 4711.

Chinese call a snake is a little dragon. They said a dragon fell down from the sky and then became a snake. Therefore, Snakes have Dragon's body without scale and cannot fly. Dragon is the 5th animal in the Chinese horoscope order sequence. Snake is the 6th animal in the Chinese horoscope. Dragon is the big brother of Snake. Snake is shame to be on the ground. Snake becomes a clam, shy, cautious and low-key animal. Snake won't attack its opponent, unless it's disturbed. As long as we don't fool with Snake, we won't get bitten.

Snake has the ability to swallow an animal bigger than its size. So we cannot underestimate snake's ambitious. We shouldn't ignore the existence of Snake. Snake is a no-limb animal with fork-like tongue. Chinese treat that spitting tongue as a sign of argument. Actually, Snake uses its tongue to smell. But in the Chinese zodiac, the Snake implies the potential trouble of libel, dispute or slander.

Water Snakes are influential and insightful. They manage others well and tend to be good for organizations to utilize as staff. They are quite motivated and intellectual, very determined and resolute about success. They will have what they desire, despite the conclusion or outcome they generate because it is worth it to them to not only be recognized for their efforts, but to be rewarded as well. They are affectionate with their families and friends but do not show this side of their personality to colleagues or business partners.

Drawing upon the never-ending well of knowledge housed in the even the tiniest drop of water, the Water Snake is the most perceptive and has the most mental dexterity of all the Chinese zodiac Snakes. They are sensitive (though they rarely let it show) and make incredible artists.

These Snakes are the more materialistic of the lot and most likely will be able to buy whatever they want because are ingenious with regards to making and keeping money.

The Chinese Snake personality is, perhaps, the most misunderstood and feared of all the Chinese zodiac signs. Mystical and mysterious those born in the Year of the Snake are renowned for their obvious psychic abilities; they always just seem to “know”. People are drawn to the Chinese Snake consciously, subconsciously and, sometimes, almost against their own will.

Like the Chinese zodiac sign of the Dragon, it is said the Chinese Snake’s very existence is purely karmic and they’ve arrived in the Year of the Snake for the express purposes of settling debts (whether they owe or are owed).

The Chinese Snake’s emotions seem to run so deep, others can easily get a sense that if they become entangled with a Snake, they could get lost forever. Further, not only is this Chinese zodiac sign the deepest of thinkers, they are constantly thinking, calculating and plotting (which can be positive or negative). But they rarely will share their thoughts because, to a Chinese Snake, people are to be mistrusted until proven otherwise. And good luck trying to guess a Snake’s next move.

Usually possessing a great sense of humor the Chinese Snake is reliable, loyal to the death (as long as they are not betrayed), terrific at making and keeping money and a rock during a catastrophe. Should complete devastation occur, the Chinese Snake will, in a most miraculous fashion, “shed their skin” and materialize out of the rubble more resplendent than ever before.

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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