Chinese New Year 2020

Phare Cambodian Circus Chinese New Year banner with male artist posing

Chinese New Year Celebrated Around the World

The Chinese New Year of 2020 falls on January 25th (Saturday), and the festival will last to February 8th, about 15 days in total. 2020 is a Year of the Rat according to Chinese zodiac.

How is the Chinese New Year celebrated?

The festivities are and explosion of color, bright lights and loud music – involving parades, bell ringing, firecrackers and dragon dances.

The purpose of the festivities is to cast off the bad luck of the previous year and to call on the heavens to bring prosperity, luck and happiness for all family members in the year ahead.

Chinese families gather together for an elaborate reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, and clean their houses until they are spotless to clear out any bad luck ready for the New Year.

Traditionally, children are given red envelopes stuffed with ‘lucky money’ and good wishes on New Year’s Day. The color red is seen everywhere, bringing luck and is said to scare off the mythical monster Nian.

The Year of the Rat

This is the first of the repeating 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac, constituting part of the Chinese calendar system (with similar systems in use elsewhere). The Year of the Rat in standard Chinese is associated with the first branch of the Earthly Branch, which starts a repeating cycle of twelve years. There are also a yearly month of the rat and a daily hour of the rat . Years of the rat are cyclically differentiated by correlation to the Heavenly Stems cycle, resulting in a repeating cycle of five years of the rat (over a sixty-year period), each rat year also being associated with one of the Chinese wu xing, also known as the “five elements”.

Chinese New Year in Cambodia

In Cambodia, nearly one million Cambodians of Chinese heritage actively celebrate the festival in the tradition of their ancestors.

Although not one of the official holidays in Cambodia it is still one of the most celebrated events of the year and sees an estimated 60% of the Cambodian population partaking in the festivities.

At this time Chinese Cambodian’s begin to prepare by buying food and incense and begin decorating and cleaning their homes. In the lead-up to the New Year, Chinese-Cambodian shops offer discounts but many will be closed during the two-week festivities.

In Phnom Penh especially you will see Lion Dancers taking to the streets and on the night of New Year’s Eve people gather at the pagodas to make offerings.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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