25th January 2020 marks the start of the Chinese New Year; the most significant holiday in China. The celebration is a time to honour ancient Gods and ancestors and marks the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar.
Did you know – the Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year because it marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year and the start of a new moon.
Year of the Rat Meaning
Each year is represented by an animal sign in the Chinese zodiac with the Chinese New Year 2020 animal being the Rat. The Rat is the first animal in the 12 year Chinese zodiac cycle, with 2032 being the next Rat year. According to Chinese tradition, the rat is a smart creature that brings a new beginning and good fortune.
Years of the Rat: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032, 2044.
The Year of the Rat Characteristics
The Rat is ranked first out of all the Zodiac signs because of the personality traits associated with it, such as instinctive, witty, and alert. In fact, people born during the Year of the Rat make great businessmen.
However, people who are born in different years of the Rat can have varied characteristics that reflect one of the five Chinese elements; wood, fire, earth, metal and water. 2020 is the year of the Metal Rat, which means sensitivity and strong self-awareness, along with persuasiveness and a quick tongue.
Chinese New Year Traditions
The Chinese New Year is a time for family and friends, bringing a host of traditions and customs that have been observed for thousands of years. These include:
Fireworks are used to scare away evil spirits. It is an ancient Chinese tradition to set off fireworks to welcome the New Year. From extravagant public displays in major cities, to private celebrations in people’s back gardens in China, setting off fireworks is an indispensable festivity.
Lion and dragon dances
The lion is a symbol of power, wisdom, and strength. The lion dance is one of the most important traditions of the Chinese New Year. Lion dances are performed to bring good fortune and chase away evil spirits – they also bring prosperity and good luck into the upcoming year. The dragon symbolises wisdom, power and wealth and is believed to bring about good luck. The body used for the dragon dance is stored in a local Dragon King Temple and can only be taken out the day before the festival.
Cleaning and decorating
In the days leading up to the first day of the Chinese New Year, homes are cleaned to remove the old and welcome the new. By doing this, you’re getting rid of any bad luck from the previous year. Once spotless, the house is decorated to welcome the New Year. Red is the most popular colour for Chinese New Year decorations because it resembles the Chinese element fire, which symbolises good fortune and joy. The most common Chinese New Year decorations include lanterns, paper cut-outs and door gods.
New Year’s Eve reunion dinner
Families gather on the Chinese New Year’s Eve for a reunion dinner, which is seen as being the most important meal of the year. The spread includes an abundance of delicious festive dishes, with fish being the main entrée. The tradition of eating fish during Chinese New Year celebrations stems from the belief that eating fish will bring a surplus of wealth into the following year. It’s also custom to eat dumplings on New Year’s Eve because they resemble money.
A Chinese New Year red envelope is a monetary gift that is typically given by senior family members to their junior relatives. The money received in the red envelope is believed to keep evil spirits away from the recipient, keeping them healthy and prosperous in the coming year.
With the gift of money being at the forefront of Chinese New Year tradition, we’re not charging transfer fees on selected currencies until 28th January 2020. To find out more, click here.
Great places to celebrate Chinese New Year around the world
No transfer fees this month* when you send money via Xendpay
In all the countries that celebrate the Chinese New Year, the giving of red envelopes is a tradition that is never overlooked. Whatever your plans are this Chinese New Year, you can send money to your loved ones back home using Xendpay. Enjoy no transfer fees* when you send money to your family and friends in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam over the Chinese New Year. Although it may not be sent via traditional red envelopes, you can be sure that your money will be sent swiftly and securely online.
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*only valid from 20/01/2020 – 28/01/2020