The Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year or the Chinese Spring Festival has a history of more than 4,000 years. It is the time for families to get together, celebrate the New Year and have a good time. In 2015, the Chinese New Year begins on February 19 and the celebrations last for 15 days. During that time, cities all over China and the entire world celebrate the Chinese New Year with fireworks, dragons, lanterns, great food and lots of smiles! There are many Chinese New Year traditions that you could observe, but today we’re going to take a look at 10 most popular ones.
10. Cleaning Up
Cleaning up one’s house before the New Year is one of the most popular Chinese New Year traditions! Every single corner of the house needs to cleaned, so that the New Year find you fresh and new. After cleaning up, most Chinese folks go shopping for new clothes and things, this way they’re telling the New Year they’re ready for it.
9. Chinese Couplets
Couplets are pasted on doorways as a way of celebrating the Chinese New Year. This habit of hanging couplets can be traced as early as 900 BC. If you too want to hand Chinese couplets on your door, then we suggest you pay your local Chinese store a visit, where you’ll be sure to find them.
8. Chinese New Year Taboos
There are a lot of things and words you shouldn’t do or say during the Spring Festival. The start of the New Year shouldn’t be ruined by bad words that could bring more bad things after them. For example, you shouldn’t say words that are related to sickness, death and killing if you want the following year to be free of those things. Also, if you want to have a good year, make sure that you have plenty of rice in your home and don’t take any medicine during that night, if you don’t want to stay sick for the rest of the year.
7. Lucky Money
Adults give children money in red enveloped to protect them from harm during the following year. The envelopes are always given at the dinnertime and the kids use it to buy school supplies, mostly. Some people encourage their children to save it for rainy days.
6. Fireworks and Firecrackers
People have been celebrating the Chinese New Year with firecrackers long before there was a word for it! Before the invention of gun powder, they would throw bamboo pieces into a fire to drive away the monster called Nian. These days, fireworks and firecrackers are always set off at midnight.
5. Paying New Year’s Visits
A very popular tradition is to visit friends and family during the New Year celebration. In rural areas, where people have lots of family members, this custom could last up to a couple of days. Naturally, you can’t just visit someone without bringing along a little gift, so the whole thing could cost you a pretty penny.
4. Chinese Cards
These cards are very similar to the Western cards, where people write kind words and wishes and send them to their friends and family. The cards are prepared before the festival begins and can also be sent in electronic form. So find a Chinese New Year card and send it to your loved ones!
3. Festival of the Lanterns
After the whole celebration dies down a little, the Festival of Lanterns begins. On the 15th day of the New Year, lanterns are lit throughout the streets. Sometimes poems are attached to them, other times the lanterns are in the form of a rabbit or the animal of the year. 2015 is the year of the Year of the Goat.
By far, the most important food during the Spring Festival are dumplings or Jiaozi. They are made with flour and are stuffed with various fillings containing meat or vegetables. They are eaten to bring health and wealth in the coming year and you will not find a Chinese person without dumplings during the Lunar New Year.
1. Shou Sui
This tradition involves a family member staying out all night to defend the whole family from the Year. The Year is also afraid of firecrackers, the color red and fire, so that’s why all these things are happening on New Year’s Eve. Out with the old, in with the new!
Are you going to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Drop us a line and tell us what Chinese New Year traditions you’re going to adopt.