Another New Year

1/15/2006 8:52:49 AM

CHINESE New Year is a time when gifts, flowers and sweets are exchanged and all debts are paid before the New Year begins. The festival celebrates the earth coming back to life and the start of ‘ploughing and sowing’.

This year, Chinese New Year falls on January 29, and is the Year of the Dog. Many Chinese restaurants in Spain will be hosting special celebratory dinners on the evening of January 28. Lavish culinary six-course banquets will tempt many westerners to join in the celebrations. Restaurants will usually offer traditional entertainment as well as fireworks. Be sure to check out your local Chinese restaurant to see what special celebrations are planned. You usually need to reserve tickets in advance.

Chinese New Year is the main holiday of the year for more than one quarter of the world's population. Although the People's Republic of China uses the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes, a special Chinese calendar is used for determining festivals. Various Chinese communities around the world also use this calendar.

The beginnings of the Chinese calendar can be traced back to the 14th century BC. Legend has it that the Emperor Huangdi invented the calendar in 2637 BC.

The Chinese calendar is based on exact astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun and the phases of the moon. This means that principles of modern science have had an impact on the Chinese calendar.

A calendar is a system for measuring time, from hours and minutes, to months and days, and finally to years and centuries. The terms of hour, day, month, year and century are all units of time measurements of a calendar system.

Distance can be measured with a stick, time is measured by observing the movements of the sun, moon and stars.

Every one knows about the rotation of the Earth about its axis, which causes (apparent) movement of the Sun from East to West across the sky. So we define one cycle of movement of the Sun as one 'Day.' The Chinese world is very straightforward and calls one day as one 'Sun’.

The concept of a ‘week’ is less important in the Chinese calendar. The ancient Egyptians had a ten-day week, and so did the Chinese. The ancient Assyrians invented the seven-day week, and the names of days of the week that we use even today are based on a system of assigning the five planets visible to the naked eye, the sun, and the moon to the seven days of the week.