Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year begins on 3 February 2011 this year.  It is the year of the rabbit, which should bring good luck to those born under this sign. Chinese New Year is also known as the spring festival – so it is a time for forgiveness and new starts. It also marks the beginning of the new moon cycle, which is why the festival starts on a different date each year.

At Brighton and Hove Museums, the World Art department celebrates the occasion by looking at some of the objects used during the Chinese New Year festivities.

At the start of Chinese New Year, people place something of value in one of these little pots. They keep it in the pot for a year to ensure everlasting wealth.

Dragon Puppet
Dragon Puppet

This is a Chinese paper dragon puppet. In China, the dragon represents good luck, long life and wisdom. Dragon dances are performed at New Year to scare away evil spirits.

‘Hong Bao’
‘Hong Bao’

At New Year, ‘Hong Bao’ (meaning Red Packet) takes place. These red money envelopes are given out to children and unmarried adults. The envelopes contain an even amount of money, as odd numbers are associated with funerals. The red colour is associated with luck and the envelopes are decorated with good luck images. The envelope above shows a man and he represents wealth.

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