The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Chinese New Year: Year of the Dragon

Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon (正月), and thus, a celebration will take place,  with a New Year’s Dinner as well as the exchange of red envelopes. Therefore, I wish all of our readers 恭禧發財,心想事成, 龍馬精神, 新年快樂!

For most people, the red envelopes (利市) and Dragon Dancing (舞龍) are the most well-known aspects of the Chinese New Year. The former is simply money that is gifted in red packets for good fortune. The practise of gifting red envelopes has its origins in the Qin Dynasty and was thought to ward off evil spirits. The latter is aptly named after the highly energetic and skilled performances that reflect the Chinese respect for the Dragon. Traditionally, there are fifteen days of festivities, which conclude with the Lantern Festival, which is a parallel of the western St. Valentines Day.

In Japan, New Year’s day is celebrated with its own set of customs, although some parallels exist. For instance, otoshidama (お年玉) are given to children. Japan celebrated the New Year in accordance with the Lunar Calander until the Meiji Restoration; in 1873, New Year’s day was set to follow the Gregorian Calander.

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