As we bid farewell to the end of traditional western festivities the most important date in the Chinese calendar begins on 3rd February with the first day of the Chinese New Year that will then reach its climax with the traditional lantern festival on the 15th day to mark the beginning of the lunar year.
The Chinese New year is a fascinating and colourful festival and although celebrations may vary, the underlying message is one of peace and happiness for family members and friends.
Every year is associated with one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, with each animal being represented once every 12 years. These animals are often represented in decorations during the holiday and many people believe that they will inherit the characteristics of the animal representative of the year they were born. This year we are hopping in to the year of the Rabbit which symbolises a year of hope, advancement and opportunity.
China is rich in culture and traditions which can vary from province to province. For instance while direct eye contact and staring when walking in public places is uncommon in larger cities you may notice some stares of curiosity in smaller communities. In some areas it would be considered downright rude to look someone directly in the eye and staring is avoided by focusing on the lower neck of the person you are talking to.
China is the most populous country in the world with over 1.3 billion population. It is conservatively estimated that about 400 million of the population are wearing glasses and the annual demand for glasses is over 100 million pairs, making China the largest single optical market in the world.
Moreover, as people care much about their visual health, glasses are now not only treated as necessary products for vision correction but also fashionable accessories.
Their beautiful phoenix shaped eyes are one of their most distinguishing physical characteristics. Phoenix eyes are considered very attractive with their almond shape and upward tilting of the outer corner.
Traditional Chinese girls taking part in New Year celebratory parades will emphasise the beauty of their eyes with dramatic eye makeup using traditionally red shadows and solid black feline flicks of eyeliner for that extra flair.
The colour red is predominant throughout the plethora of elegant and colourful decorations on display during the New Year celebrations as it’s believed that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune.
The end of the 15-day New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns, which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows. People will walk the street carrying lighted lanterns to symbolise the brightness of Spring and red lanterns of all sorts are displayed throughout and released in public places.
The bright and beautiful lanterns have come to symbolise some of all we love about this rich culture. Happy Chinese New Year.