Chinese New Year, its history, traditions and festivities in Mauritius

Before the beginning of the new Earth Dog Year on the 16th of February 2018, it’s a golden opportunity for Luxury Mauritius to delve into the history and traditions which characterise this beautiful and ancestral celebration. Each year, its festivities gather the people of China as well as the Chinese and Asian diaspora throughout the globe and also brings together those who are enthusiastic about Chinese cultural, gstronomy and musical richness, among others. It is also the right time to make you discover the Alcazar Workshop, from creator and designer David Heerasing, and the WUJI Cultural Group from Port-Louis.

La femme aux crysantèmes- acrylique et encre sur canvas Luxury Mauritius Chinese New Year Woman with chrysanthemums – acrylic and ink on canvas. Photo Credit: Alcazar Workshop

Where does the Chinese New Year celebration come from ?

The Chinese New Year coincides with the lunar New Year, from the lunar-solar calendar (based on both the annual cycle of the Sun and the regular phases of the Moon). Nowadays, the lunar-solar calendar of the ancient Hebrews and of Imperial China are solely used to determine the dates of religious and traditional festivals. The Chinese New Year is also thus called the New Yera of the harvest calendar.

Under the rule of  Wudi (140-88 AD) of the Dynasty of the Han of the West, the calendar finally appeared and was called the «Taichu» calendar (the furthest antiquity) according to which the 1st month of Spring or the 1st Moon was the beginning of a year, the 1st month of the lunar year. As from then, the lunar calendar was transmitted up to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1616-1911). Them, the 1st year of th year became the traditional festival in all the following dynasties. 

In 1913 (under the National Republic (1912-1949)), the 1st day of the 1st month of the lunar year has been officially labelled «Chunjie» (Spring Festival). The Chunjie celebrations go on until the 15th of the 1st lunar month, the Lanterns Festival. It is the most important festival for the Asian communities throughout the world. 

Alcazar Workshop luxury Mauritius nouvel an chinois Photocredit : Alcazar Workshop

2018, the Earth Dog Year

The Dog is the 11th animal of the Chinese Zodiac cycle. He is sensitive, seeks justice and is an artist. The Dog year will end on the 4th of February 2019 and the Earth Pig Year wil then start.

Dog sign celebrities : Albert II de Monaco, Ava Gardner, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury, Jane Birkin, Prince William.

The traditions

1. New Year’s Eve diner. The Chinese Near Year Eve is an opportunity to prepare a grand family diner, at home rather than in a restaurant. Fish is one of the delicacies served as well as dumplings. These two dishes bring prosperity.

2. Firecrakers mark the beginning of the New Year at midnight and bring luck.

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3. Red is above all the iconic colour of the New Year and it comes in differents forms: outfits, the red envelopes given as gifts or hóngbāo  (the money inside is considered as a way to keep evil at bay from children and as bringing good health, the decorations (lanterns, guarlands, paper cuttings, paintings and statues of the Gods, among others.

4. The Lion Dance is the traditional dance  where the participants wear lion outfits and dance to imitate the animal. It is believed to bring luck during the year.

WUJI Cultural Club Lion dance luxury mauritius Chinese New Year Lion Dance. Photo Credit : WUJI Cultural Club

Alcazar Workshop : The artist has various inspirations and specialises in interior design, events, painting, mural fresques and sculptures.

WUJI Cultural Group : Cultural group from Port-Louis known for its Lion Dance each year in the streets of the capital city.

Chinese New Year luxury MAURITIUS Photo credit : WUJI Cultural Group

The festival in Mauritius

The same traditions are lived in Mauritius and are transmitted from generation to generation. To better experience the beginning of the New Earth Dog Year, China Town in Port-Louis and other towns and regions are awaiting you with their celebrations, parades, Chinese delicacies, Lion dance, and music as it is done each year.

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