Holidays & Observances: The Year of Rabbit

For all the posts in this Holidays & Observances series, go here.

Prologue: I have been meaning to write a series about Holidays and Observances that we (my family and friends) follow in both India (my birth country) and USA (my adopted country). This series is dedicated to those kids of posts. On a side note, perhaps I might witness some of the celebrations from other countries as well that may get their way into this series. šŸ™‚

Chinese New Year or The Year of Rabbit occurred on Jan 22 this year. The celebrations last up to 16 days which culminate with the Lantern Festival on Feb 5th this year. This year the Chinese Zodiac sign transitioned from Tiger to Rabbit, the fourth animal in the 12-year Chinese Zodiac cycle. It symbolizes grace, beauty, mercy and good luck.

These 16 days have two part festival – Spring Festival for the 10 days followed by Lantern Festival for the remaining 6 days. Traditionally the festivities includes family reunions, parades and fireworks. The Lunar New Year also symbolizes reunion and rebirth marking the end of Winter and ushering in Spring.

However, mythologically, legend says that a monster would emerge from under the Earth at the start of every year and eat villagers. Since the beast, Nian (Chinese for “year”), was afraid of bright lights, loud noises and the color red, they were used to exile the beast.

My friends and I were going to celebrate this Lunar Year during our Monthly Cocktail party this month, but unfortunately we had to cancel due to illness of a friend. May be next time.

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