Hang the red lanterns and get ready to raise a toast to fresh starts! A worldwide party is about to begin. It has many names—the “Chinese New Year”, the “Lunar New Year” or the “Spring Festival” to name a few.
The Chinese New year is a lot of fun, with many colorful traditions to go with it. Read on to learn more about this spectacular reason to celebrate! Swing into your local Spec’s where you’ll find all you need to celebrate including a variety of cognac, very affordable red tissue paper wrapping, and gift bags to go with it.
Here are Little Known Facts about Chinese New Year:
1: It’s in celebration of health, wealth and prosperity
Most blessings during Chinese New Year Celebrations are about:
- Plentiful harvests
- Wealth and fortune
- Health and longevity
- Having children and large families
2: 2018 is The Year of the Dog
In Western culture, there are 12 zodiac signs—one for each month. Chinese culture has 12 signs too, but every year has a zodiac animal assigned to it.
They are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig
2018 is the year of the dog. People born during the year of the dog are typically thought of as independent, loyal and valiant.
3: Based on the Lunar Calendar
We use the Gregorian calendar, which is based on rotations of the Earth around the sun. But calendar used is actually derived from a different calendar—the Lunar. The Lunar Calendar is based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases (synodic months) so finding the date isn’t so easy to calculate. Its starting date ranges from January 21st to February 20th; this year it will be on February 16th
The Lunar Calendar is still really important in China, even though it has officially moved to the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world. All traditional holidays and days such as the Winter Solstice are celebrated. Some people still calculate their birthdays and ages according to the lunar calendar too.
4: It’s kind of a big deal!
The Chinese New Year marks a vast worldwide celebration. London, San Francisco and Sydney all claim to have the biggest Spring Festival celebrations outside of Asia. If you have a Chinatown nearby, hit it up and you’ll see for yourself what it’s all about.
5: Firecrackers ward off monsters
Snap, crackle and pop! Much like Western New Year’s celebrations, firecrackers are a staple. But there’s a really interesting myth behind how firecrackers fit in to the Chinese New Year. According to one legend, there was a monster named Nian that would come every New Year’s Eve, leaving most to cower in their homes in fear. But one boy was brave enough to fight him off! What did he use as a weapon against it? You guessed it, firecrackers. And so the next day, people celebrated their survival by setting off even more firecrackers. And that practice became tradition! So just like the myth about Nian, firecrackers are supposed to scare off monsters and bad luck. People stay up on Chinese New Year’s Eve and set off firecrackers at midnight. In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the New Year and good luck.
6: It celebrates the harvest, ancient gods, and great-great-grandparents
The Spring Festival was originally a ceremonial day to pray to gods for a good planting and harvest season. As an agrarian society, the harvest was everything. People also prayed to their ancestors, as they were treated as gods.
7: There are fistfights over train tickets
Like many holidays, the Chinese New Year is also about family. And having your family all at home for the New Year’s Eve dinner is super important. In modern China, the majority of the youth live in bustling, crowded cities while the elder parents live in rural villages. Everyone in these crowded cities wants to get home, but train tickets don’t go on sale until 60 days before the New Year. So what happens when they do? Well in a crowded Chinese city street, that means an all out royal rumble! In 2015, it was reported that around 1,000 tickets were sold every second!
8: There’s gift giving, lucky money and lots of red decorations
Gifts are also exchanged during the Spring Festival. But Chinese children receive something else as well—red envelopes with lucky money! But it’s not just for kids, red envelopes and red wrapped gifts are given to bosses and employees, co-workers, and friends alike.
During the Chinese Lunar New Year, the color red is everywhere! Celebration décor include red paper lanterns, gifts wrapped in red paper, and the like.
9: A time for drinks! (Especially cognac.)
The Chinese New Year is laden with drinking games, toasting etiquette, and all around drinking celebrations. It isn’t a Chinese New Year without wine and bourbon to toast your friends. Cognac is a common choice for this occasion.
Wish your loved ones abundance and prosperity with cognac
Feeling festive yet? We sure are! So celebrate! Give a Lunar Festival gift to your close friends and family. It’ll be unexpected—and unexpected gifts are the best kind.
2018 Year of the Dog, Martell Blue Swift Cognac
Wine and cognac are essential to celebrate this occasion. And here’s a great one! Not only is this cognac exquisitely crafted, it’s affordable, and comes in this special 2018 Chinese New Year edition, sporting a vibrant red and gold package.
Hennessey Cognac VSOP
A slightly more elegant choice. This cognac is average 12-15 years as “Privilège” blend. Great Floral and spice on noir and palate.
Remy Martin 1738
Remy Martin 1738 is aged up to 20 years in French oak casks. Well balanced, smooth and as captivating to the senses as a wondrous Chinatown parade. Round and mellow with oaky notes of butterscotch and spices, this cognac makes an excellent gift.
Camus VS is also a very affordable choice and a truly great cognac. It’d make a fine Chinese New Year gift.
But perhaps cognac isn’t your thing. Need more help selecting a gift? Ask your friendly neighborhood wine experts at your nearest Spec’s.
Check out the parades, lion dances, lantern statues, fireworks and amazing food at a festival near you.
That’s it for now! Happy Chinese New Year, or as they say in Mandarin, Guònián hǎo!