chinese new year
Chinese New Year
. Chinese New Year is an important traditional Chinese holiday celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Years Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese
. According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with a mythical beast called the Nian. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldnt attack any more people. One day a villager
. The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by nian of which the term guo nian was derived. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will
. The second day of the Chinese New Year, known as beginning of the year was when married daughters visited their birth parents, relatives and close friends. (Traditionally, married daughters didnt have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.)During the days of imperial China, beggars and other unemployed people circulate[d] from family to family, carrying a picture [of the God of Wealth] shouting, Cai Shen dao! [The God of Wealth
. The third day is known as red mouth. Chikou is also called Chigous Day Rural villagers continue the tradition of burning paper offerings over trash fires. It is considered an unlucky day to have guests or go visiting.Hakka villagers in rural Hong Kong in the 1960s called it the Day of the Poor Devil and believed everyone should stay at home.This is also considered a propitious day to visit the temple of the God of Wealth and have ones future told
. In those communities that celebrate Chinese New Year for only two or three days, the fourth day is when corporate spring dinners kick off and business returns to normal.
. This day is the god of Wealths birthday. In northern China, people eat jiaozi, or dumplings, on the morning of powu.In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re open on the next day (the sixth day), accompanied by firecrackers.It is also common in China that on the 5th day people will shoot off firecrackers to get Guan Yus attention, thus ensuring his favor and good fortune for the new year.
. The seventh day, traditionally known as Renri (the common persons birthday), is the day when everyone grows one year older. In some overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore, it is also the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten for continued wealth and prosperity.For many Chinese Buddhists, this is another day to avoid meat, the seventh day commemorating the birth of Sakra, lord of the devas in Bud
. Another family dinner is held to celebrate the eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor, the ruler of heaven. People normally return to work by the eighth day, therefore the Store owners will host a lunch/dinner with their employees, thanking their employees for the work they have done for the whole year.Approaching 12 midnight on this day, Hokkien people prepare for the Jade Emperor ritual during which incense is burnt and food offerings made to the
. The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven in the Daoist Pantheon.The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor. This day, called Ti Kong Dan, Ti Kong Si or Pai Ti Kong , is especially important to Hokkiens, even more important than the first day of the Chinese New Year.Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, Hokkiens will offer thanks to the Emperor of Heaven. A pr
. The Jade Emperors party is celebrated on this day.
. On the 13th day people will eat pure vegetarian food in the belief that it will clean out their stomachs due to consuming too much food over the preceding two weeks.This day is dedicated to the General Guan Yu, also known as the Chinese God of War. Guan Yu was born in the Han dynasty and is considered the greatest general in Chinese history. He represents loyalty, strength, truth, and justice. According to history, he was tricked by the enemy
. The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuanxiao Festival or the Lantern Festival a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, are eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.In Malaysia and Singapore, this day is celebrated by individuals seeking for a romantic partner, akin to Valentines D
. A reunion dinner, named as Nian Ye Fan, is held on New Years Eve during which family members gather for celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Years Eve dinner is very large and sumptuous and traditionally includes dishes of meat (namely, pork and chicken) and fish. Most reunion dinners also feature a communal hot pot as it is believed to signify the coming together of the famil
. Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals. The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for wealth), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US. The number six is also very lucky as it sounds like smooth, in the sense of having a
. In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from elder to younger, small gifts (usually of food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends or relatives (of different households) during Chinese New Year. Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common gifts include fruits (typically oranges, and never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, or some other small gifts.
. Markets or village fairs are set up as the New Year is approaching. These usually open air markets feature new year related products such as flowers, toys, clothing, and even fireworks. It is convenient for people to buy gifts for their new year visits as well as their home decorations. In some places, the practice of shopping for the perfect plum tree is not dissimilar to the Western tradition of buying a Christmas tree.
. Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. In modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season. Firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string so it can be hung down. Each firecracker is rolled up in red papers, as red is auspicious, with gunpowder in its core. Once ignited, the firecracker
. Clothing mainly featuring the color red or bright colors is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it was once believed that red could scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year. Wearing new clothes also symbolizes having more than enough things to use and wear in the new year. Red is a color of good luck.
. Taking family portrait is an important ceremony after the relatives are gathered. The photo is taken at the hall of the house or taken in front of the house. The most senior male head of the family sits in the center.
. Traditionally, families gather together during the Chinese New Year. In modern China, migrant workers in China travel home to have reunion dinners with their families on Chinese New Years Eve. Owing to the large number of interprovincial travellers, special arrangements were made by railways, buses and airlines starting from 15 days before the New Years Day. This 40 day period is called chunyun, and is known as the worlds largest annual migration
Plants and Flowers
. Every traditional Chinese household should also have live blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth. Flowers are believed to be symbolic of wealth and high positions in ones career. Lucky is the home with a plant that blooms on New Years Day, for that foretells a year of prosperity. In more elaborate settings, plum blossoms just starting to bloom are arranged with bamboo and pine sprigs, the grouping symbolizing friends &endash; the plu
Oranges and Tangerines
. Etiquette dictates that you must bring a bag of oranges and tangerines and enclose a lai see when visiting family or friends anytime during the two week long Chinese New Year celebration. Tangerines with leaves intact assure that ones relationship with the other remains secure. For newlyweds, this represents the branching of the couple into a family with many children. Oranges and tangerines are symbols for abundant happiness.
. Dumplings are very popular in Northern China. It is one of the main dishes for New Years Eve dinner. Very few people in Southern China serve dumplings in New Years Eve dinner.
New Year Cake
. It is solid cake made with glutinous rice flour together with some sugar. New Year Cake is popular in Eastern China.
. Tang Yuan is small ball made from glutinous rice flour. Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls and is then cooked and served in boiling water. Tang Yuan can be either filled or unfilled. It is traditionally eaten during Yuan Xiao, or the Lantern Festival (the 15th of the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar).
. It is a mixture of rice, nuts, and beans cooked together. LaBa Congee is usually served on LaBa festival which is the 8th day of the last month of the year.
New Years Paintings
. New Year paintings are put up to decorate houses, carrying best wishes, and creating a happy and prosperous atmosphere at the Spring Festival.The subjects of New Year paintings are often flowers and birds, plump boys (with Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy and fertility), golden roosters, oxen, ripe fruit and treasure, or other legends and historical stories, showing desires for bountiful harvests and a happy life. The Four Homelands of the New Year
Putting Up Paper Cutouts
. In the past people pasted paper cutouts on windows facing south and north before the Spring Festival. Paper cutouts are still popular with northerners, but people in the south only paste paper cutouts on wedding days.The subjects and themes of paper cutouts are rich, and most of them are characteristic of rural life, because the majority of buyers are peasants. Therefore paper cutouts about farming, weaving, fishing, tending sheep, feeding pigs,