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Chinese New Year Celebrations

Chinese New Year [Chinese Spring Festival] 15-Day Celebration Hightlights:

Chinese New Year Festivities The celebration of Chinese New Year has been practicing in many countries around the world, primarily those countries that have adopted Taoist and Confucian traditions or have been influenced by the Chinese, such as the Koreans, the Japanese, the Vietnamese, etc. Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the Chinese New Year containing a new moon and ends on the full moon on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year. Preparation for the Chinese New Year starts a month or days earlier, including New Year’s Eve. Very similar to the Western countries celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, Chinese New Year is rich in traditions, folklores and rituals. It is a time for reconciliation and renewal. Old grudges are forgiven. New lives begin. People are warm and friendly toward one another.

Days before the Chinese New Year

Preparations for Chinese New Year begin a month or days before the Chinese New Year. Like people in Western countries prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Chinese buy presents, decoration materials, food and clothing for the coming celebration. Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away bad luck and makes their homes ready for good luck to arrive. All brooms and dust pans are put away on New Year's Eve so that good luck cannot be swept away. The doors and windows are decorated with paper cuts and couplets with Chinese auspicious phrases that speak of "happiness," "wealth," "longevity."

Chinese New Year's Eve

Chinese New Year Eve is perhaps the most exciting part of the event. A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where family members, near and far, get together for celebration. Dinner is usually a feast of meat, seafood and dumplings. Various dishes signify different good wishes. Fish (魚, yú) is a must - Chinese phrase 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú), which means "may there be surpluses every year", sounds the same as "may there be fish every year." Dumpling (“Jiaozi” in Chinese) is a popular course for New Year’s Eve dinner in northern China. “Jiaozi” in Chinese literally means “sleep together and have sons”, a good wish for the prosperity of a family. Another popular believe is that dumpling is wrapped in the semblance of Chinese gold ingot (金元寶 (jin yuán bǎo) in Chinese) – a type of money used in ancient China. A type of black hair-like seaweed (Angel Hair), pronounced "fat choy" in Cantonese, is also a featured dish, since its name sounds similar to fat choy, the Cantonese word for "prosperity." Red packets for the immediate family are usually distributed during the Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner. After dinner, the family sit up for the night playing cards, Chinese board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the Chinese New Year’s Eve. As the Chinese New Year approaches, fireworks and firecrackers will be make everywhere. Chinese New Year comes with the excitements and good wishes of the people.

The First day of the Chinese New Year

Traditionally, each of the first fifteen days of Chinese New Year has a special significance. With the arrival of Chinese New Year, life is renewed and the first day begins by worshipping the gods of the heavens and earth. It is also a time for people to visit their dear friends and relatives to wish them good luck for the Chinese New Year. Red envelopes or New Year gifts are given out during the visits. Some people abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure long and happy life.

The Second day of the Chinese New Year

The visiting and celebration continues on the second day of the Chinese New Year. It is also a special day for daughters-in-law to visit their natal home. Traditionally, married women may not have the opportunity to visit their own families frequently. It is also a day for dog’s birthday. Traditionally, dogs turn a year older on the second day of the Chinese New Year. It is time to spoil the dogs on this day and wish them a happy birthday.

The Third day of the Chinese New Year

Though the first week of Chinese New Year is the most important and most celebrated with visits to friends and family. The third day of Chinese New Year is generally accepted as an inappropriate day to visit relatives and friends. It is known as "chì kǒu" (赤口), meaning “easy to get into arguments”. Thus visiting is discouraged on this third day. It is suggested that the cause could be too much fried food and visiting during the first two days of the Chinese New Year celebration. There are exceptions – in some area, the third day is a good day for sons-in-law to pay visits to their parents-in-law.

The Fourth day of the Chinese New Year

The fourth day of Chinese New year is an auspicious day to re-open the businesses after the main New Year holidays.

The Fifth day of the Chinese New Year

People stay home on the fifth day to welcome the God of Wealth into their homes. In some places, people re-open their businesses on the fifth day of the Chinese New Year after the main New Year celebration.

The Seventh day of the Chinese New Year

The seventh day traditionally is known as the common man's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older. It is also a day for farmers to show off their produce. People get together to make special drinks and eat long noodles to make wishes for continued wealth, prosperity and long life.

The ninth day of the Chinese New Year

The ninth day of the Chinese New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天公)to ensure a good year to come. Tea is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honored person.

The Fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year

The fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year is the last day of the traditional New Year's celebrations. It is celebrated as the Lantern Festival (Yuánxiāo jié, 元宵节). The tradition of Lantern Festival has been part of Chinese New Year celebration for more than 2,200 years. It is believed that the first full moon of the year has magic light in it. Ancient Chinese light up torches to match the magic light in the hope to see the heavenly spirits as they moved around the earth. The ancient ceremony turned into Lantern Festival, and now a special event for kids. Lanterns are made, parades are formed during the fifteenth nights of New Year in every corner and street with exciting children running and laughing. In southeast part of China, it is popular to eat a special kind of sweet rice ball dumpling soup in this day. It is know as “Tang Yuan” (汤圆). Sweet and round (round shape is perceived as a perfect shape) are the wishes again that bring the celebration to an end.


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