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  Happy Chinese New Year of the Ram!
Updated 01 February 2003, 11.30
Red lanterns on display for New Year celebrations
It's Chinese New Year!

And Yi tells us people celebrate in China and also how she'll be celebrating.

"Chinese New Year - the Spring Festival - is a very old celebration that is based on the lunar calendar and falls between 21 January and 19 February.
Fact File
The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac
Rat
Ox
Tiger
Rabbit
Dragon
Snake
Horse
Ram
Monkey
Rooster
Dog
Pig

One of the legends is that 12 animals were quarrelling to see who would have the years named after them.

The Gods held a contest to see who arrived at the other side of a riverbank first, after completing a race.

The order the animals arrived in determined the order of their years. This year is the Year of the Ram/Sheep.

Fireworks and dragons

The traditional dragon dance
My friend Chang says in China families get together and have a huge feast, and in cities and communities people gather to watch fireworks, lion dances and dragon dances.

There is a tradition that people put up floral displays, lanterns and red banners that depict greetings and wish people Happy New Year and Good Luck.

Traditional food

They stay up till midnight and eat traditional food like dumplings, or 'jiao zi', the Chinese word for dumplings.

Children receive money in red envelopes as presents from their parents and the festivities last for two weeks.

Man writes on a  well-wishing banner
Man writes on a well-wishing banner
There is also a live broadcast of an annual show in which there are performances, dancing, comedy, and songs.

No day off

In the UK Chinese people have parties with their friends and families, but don't get the day off like in China.

This year in Leeds, I'm performing a piece of Baroque music with my brother Xun, and my friends Geri and Jessica at a joint celebration on Saturday.

We're also performing at the Town Hall on Sunday in a party organised by the Leeds Chinese Association.

I'm a bit nervous because there will be over 1,500 people watching!"

Yi, 15, Leeds


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