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Vladimir Lukashev, an expert on China and Southeast Asia:
- I celebrate the New Year twice. The first time is December 31, and the second time is in the spring, when the New Year is celebrated in China. I don't see anything strange in this. In general, the Chinese remind me of the Russians very much. Not in everything, of course, but as far as the New Year is concerned ... How many New Years are celebrated in Russia? A week! In China, there are two.
What is your favorite holiday in Russia? And in China? Exactly. And Chinese vodka from Gaolyan is very reminiscent of the native "mote" so popular under Khrushchev. Stronger, however, but also more disgusting. And the New Year in China is a family holiday, just like ours. Children come to their parents, and everyone celebrates this important holiday together. It is also interesting that the Chinese believe that how the first day of the New Year will pass will be the same throughout the year. How will you celebrate the New Year, this year will be - familiar, right?
I must say that a normal Chinese family begins to prepare in advance for the holiday. They put things in order in the house in order to get rid of everything old and prepare themselves for the new, especially since the first two days of the new year you cannot clean the house and wash your hair so as not to “wash off your luck”. They buy New Year's gifts. Preparing a New Year's table. Chinese dumplings are especially popular - by the way, traditional Siberian food came to Russia from China. Interestingly, food preparation should be finished a few hours before midnight, since you shouldn't use a knife before the New Year, so as not to “cut your luck”.
New Year's Eve dinner is an important event, therefore a certain ritual is observed - fish dishes are served. Moreover, it is good practice to leave some fish in the plate to attract luck. It is good for children to eat chicken wings - this will help their career (they will fly far away). It is also advisable to eat noodles, which should be as long as possible - a symbol of a long and happy life.
The festive dinner ends with the distribution of envelopes with "money of happiness". Parents give their children red envelopes with money that will bring prosperity for the next year. After the end of dinner, you cannot go to bed, as it is believed that you can sleep through your luck. The ancient tradition of giving each other two tangerines is being revived: the fact is that the pronunciation of the words "two tangerines" in Chinese is consonant with the word "gold".
After New Year's Eve, three days come, during which relatives and friends go to visit each other and give gifts, and then celebrate again. And all this disgrace lasts two weeks.
And, of course, I must say about the dancing of the Lion and the Dragon. The tradition of these dances goes back to the beginning of the last millennium. The lion in China is a symbol of happiness and well-being. Well, the dragon is the most respected creature - a symbol of wealth, wisdom, strength and the personification of the good beginning of Yang. The Lion and Dragon Dances are simply works of art! They require not only excellent physical fitness, but also a sense of rhythm and harmony. It is not for nothing that Wushu masters are often invited to these theatrical performances.
And now about how it all began and where the custom to celebrate the Chinese New Year came from.
In ancient China, a terrible monster was born that lived in the depths of the ocean, but once a year came ashore, devoured everyone who came in its path, and destroyed the houses of the Chinese. And then one day a beggar old man entered a coastal village and asked for alms from the first old woman he came across. This old woman was a compassionate person. She fed the old man, but when asked to shelter him in her house for the night, she said that she would be happy, but just today the "nasty creature" named Nian should crawl out of the sea and dine with the locals. Don't be afraid, said the old man. I will deal with this monster. The people from the village fled to the surrounding area, and only one old man remained in the whole village. He painted the house red and hung firecrackers around it, and when the monster came closer, attracted by the unusual color of the house, he blew up the firecrackers. The monster ran away in terror. This is how the tradition of celebrating the New Year arose. The main color of this holiday is red, and traditionally on New Years firecrackers blow up and make a lot of noise so that the terrible Nian does not crawl out of the abyss again.