Chinese New Year is the longest (15 days) and most important Chinese holiday. It is also called the Festival of Spring.

 Each year has its own corresponding animal from the Chinese Zodiac.  2013 was the Year of the Snake, and 2014 is the Year of the Horse.  Some say that as the year 2013 ended, the snake shed its skin to make way for the new year, a brand new beginning!

Chinese New Year has two weeks of celebrations.  On Chinese New Year’s Day, a huge feast is served. Families gather together for foods such as dumplings (which stand for wealth), Fish  ( represents  surplus.  It symbolizes there will be enough for the family in the coming year), and alcoholic beverages which  stand for  longevity

In addition to a wonderful feast, people play Mahjong, a fast-paced game of tiles for 4 people and all size and shape fireworks are launched.   The fireworks tradition began with the legend of Nian, a ferocious monster that was afraid of the color red and loud noises. Reportedly,  the noisy fireworks scared the monster. Current day belief is  the more fireworks and noise there are, the more luck there will be in the New Year.

Global Awareness has asked its au pairs to tell us about their celebration of Chinese New Year.  Send descriptions and photos to and a winner will be announced here on Feb. 7.