That’s the greeting many will say on Jan. 31 to mark the beginning of Chinese New Year. The important Chinese festival, also known as Spring Festival, marks the start of new life and the season of ploughing and sowing. The holiday is traditionally linked to honoring the household, heavenly gods and ancestors. Today, China celebrates New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, but it marks the Chinese New Year as time to spend with family and relax from work.
The two-week holiday is divided into two parts. The first week is designated time to spend with family and friends. The second week involves traditions designed to bring good luck. The festivities end with a Lantern festival.
Before the holiday begins, families tend to clean their homes, but throughout the holiday, dust brushes and brooms are hidden so that “good luck can not be swept away.” Typically, the holiday begins on New Year’s Eve, when families gather for a large traditional meal in which regional foods are served. At midnight, fireworks are set off to “frighten” evil spirits. Red is a common color for the holiday because it symbolizes fire, which wards off evil.
The holiday itself is usually spent with relatives, shopping, watching fireworks and in some cases -- a religious ceremony honoring heaven, earth and other deities. Other traditions include stuffing red envelopes with money and candy and placing them under children's pillows, to open on New Year’s Day.
Each year corresponds with one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs and animals. Each sign is believed to influence the personalities of those born in those years. In 2014, it will be the year of the Horse. Those born under this sign are known to possess good communication skills and are cheerful and stubborn. They crave success, and they are popular and talented.
For those who want to join in on the festivities, below are 25 inspirational sayings, greetings and proverbs to usher in the new year:
Happiness, Prosperity, Longevity
福禄寿 fú lù shòu
Wish you luck in the Year of the Horse
马年大吉 Mǎnián dàjí
Happy New Year
May all your wishes come true
心想事成 Xīnxiǎng shì chéng
The spirit of the dragon and horse
龙马精神 Lóng mǎ jīngshén
Enjoy good health
身体健康 Shēntǐ jiànkāng
A bright and lively spirit (especially used for children under the age of 10, wishing them to be active and smart)
精灵活泼 Jīnglíng huópō
May your wealth come to fill a hall.
May you realize your ambitions.