To: Sunday, February 10, 2019
Milan’s Chinese New Year celebration will take place on February 10th marking the transition from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig.
Throughout Milan’s Chinatown district, lanterns, drapes, signs and red banners will be hung from doors, houses, and shop windows depicting the Year of the Pig in the Chinese Zodiac.
Via Sarpi will be the hub of the festivities with the traditional Dragon Parade and multiple other Chinese cultural events organized by the Confucius Institute .
Before the festivities begin, let’s start at the beginning. First of all, what exactly is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year: A Four-Thousand-Year-Old Tradition
What we refer to as “Chinese New Year” in the West is actually called the “Spring Festival” or “Lunar New Year“. It is one of the biggest and most heartfelt festivals in the entire Republic of China and in a large part of the Eastern world. In fact, it is also celebrated in countries like Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam (where it takes the name Tết Nguyên Ðán), Taiwan, Japan and the various Chinese communities throughout the world.
In China, the New Year corresponds to the first day of the lunar calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, but nevertheless, is always between January 21st and February 20th.
The Chinese New Year is a festival of ancient origins; it was founded over 4,000 years ago to signify the end of a year of hard work and inaugurate the new one. And it is at this time of transition between the old year and the new year that the Chinese take advantage of spending time with their family and relaxing as much as possible.
We must remember that this holiday does not last for just one day like New Year’s Day in the West, but two consecutive weeks, during which it is customary to visit one’s relatives and friends, as well as exchange gifts and best wishes. It is believed that a good start to the year corresponds to a prosperous work cycle in the year to come.
The celebrations for the Chinese New Year begin on the eve of the new year, in which a family feast is held, and end on the evening of the fifteenth day with the famous Lantern Festival when people- especially families with children- go out into the streets for a walk with a lantern in hand.
The streets of the cities and towns are adorned with numerous red decorations. This color is in fact considered propitiatory in Chinese culture and represents happiness, luck and wealth.
Regarding the rituals that accompany the arrival of the Chinese New Year, there are many traditions that are followed and, above all, tend to vary from one region to another.
Being that China invented gunpowder, there is no shortage of fireworks, a traditional New Year’s celebration since ancient times. The colorful and noisy explosions are in fact considered a way to drive away evil spirits who are frightened by the lights and the confusion.
Another unique tradition is the exchanging of red envelopes containing small gifts. Normally, the envelopes contain money in the form of coins with a total value that can vary from a few yuan to as much as several hundred. However, the number of coins contained in the envelopes must always be even, because odd numbers are associated with money given in the event of a funeral.
Finally, another ritual commonly present in the Chinese New Year celebrations is the lion dance. It is a traditional dance performed together with the dragon dance by martial artists or acrobats. One or more dancers wear a large beast costume, holding its heads up, and one or more characters representing human beings dance around the monster.
What differentiates the lion dance from that of the dragon is the fact that the lion’s body is normally moved by two dancers, while the dragon requires many. This is also the reason why during the first one it is almost impossible to see the figures, which remain hidden inside the body.
Now let’s see how the Chinese community of Milan celebrates the arrival of the new year.
Chinese New Year in Milan: the Dragon Parade
The Chinese New Year celebrations will begin in Milan on February 5th and will last throughout the first week of the month. During these days, the city will be filled with lanterns and red decorations as a symbol of good luck for the new year. It is a tradition that makes reference to the Lantern Festival in which lanterns are positioned along the streets and in front of the doors of houses and shops.
But it will be on Sunday, February 10th, that the Lombard capital will turn into a real Chinese city: a blaze of colors, music and dance to celebrate the end of the Year of the Dog and the beginning of the Year of the Pig.
The focus of the celebrations will be Milan’s Chinatown, where you can watch the traditional costume parade featuring the Chinese Dragon.
For those who have never seen it, the parade is a colorful show characterized by paper dragons, colorful umbrellas, characters, music and traditional dances. Also during the parade, the color red stands out- used to scare off the monster Nian according to an ancient legend.
The parade will start from Piazza Gerusalemme at 14:00 and will then wind towards the heart of Milanese Chinatown, or via Paolo Sarpi.
During the parade, the shopkeepers of the center will give children and young couples red envelopes containing coins symbolizing good wishes for the coming year. Finally, there will be the traditional dragon and lion dances and numerous other traditional elements of Chinese culture.
Chinese New Year at the Confucius Institute
The Confucius Institute of Milan will also organize events and workshops for the occasion, as well as a series of conferences aiming to share the Chinese culture with the attendees. There is also a theater show and educational workshops for children, who will be able to make a craft in the company of real Chinese artisans.
Chinese New Year 2019: the Year of the Pig
As many know, each year in the traditional Chinese calendar is represented by an animal. It is a twelve-year cycle with a specific animal for each year: the mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
According to local beliefs, people born under the sign of the Pig– in the years 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995 and 2007- are diligent, compassionate and generous. “Pigs” possess great concentration and determination, rarely ask for help when they are in trouble: yet at the same time, are always ready to help others.
Those born under the sign of the Pig manage to maintain a relative calm in the face of difficulty, handling situations calmly and carefully. Finally, they have a great sense of responsibility that allows them to always finish what they have started.
Source: Cina Highlights
How to Take Part in Milan’s Chinese New Year
If you want to take part in the festivities, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to book your stay in the area. We’ll be happy to find the perfect accommodation for you and make your trip to Milan unforgettable!
You can also reach us on our dooid magazine Facebook page.
If you are particularly interested in eastern culture, make sure to check out our article on the Festival of Japanese Culture that takes place in Cagliari in October.Redattore
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