Chinese New Year: Traditions, Celebrations, and More
The Chinese New Year is known as the Spring Festival in China. It's the first day of the Chinese calendar. The festival marks the end of the winter and the beginning of spring. The festival begins on the first day of spring and ends on the fifteenth day with the Lantern Festival. The Chinese New Year is also sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year.
In China, it is a tradition for families to hold a family reunion dinner on Chinese New Year's Eve. The day is referred to as the Eve of the Passing Year.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries with large Chinese populations including China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Singapore, Macau, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Chinatowns around the world.
Although traditions vary widely across mainland China, most people buy gifts and clothing, cook foods, and clean their home to rid it of ill-fortune from the past year.
The first morning of the Spring Festival children greet their parents and receive a red envelope filled with money.
Fun facts about the Chinese New Year
- The Chinese calendar does not use numbered years. The Chinese years are only numbered from outside China use the reign of the Yellow Emperor as the beginning year.
- Traditional foods eaten for the Chinese New Year include melon seeds, mandarin oranges, fish, nian gao (a pudding known as tikoy in the Philippines), bakkwa (similar to jerkey), taro cakes, and turnip cakes.
- Fireworks are incredibly common during the Spring Festival. Of course, many injuries occur and is now discouraged.
- Bright red clothing is worn throughout the Spring Festival. It was once believed that bright red colors chase away bad fortune and evil spirits.
- Flower decorations are common throughout markets and homes.
- Nianhua is a woodblock printing which are on display and sold throughout the celebrations.
- The dragon and lion dances which are common during the festival are believed to chase away evil spirits due to the deafening sounds of the drums, face of the creature, and aggressive dancing.
- The koi fish is on display in many paintings and other art during this time of year because the fish is believed to bring success in the new year.
For non-Chinese, the Chinese New Year is a great time to experience traditional Chinese food, learn about Chinese culture, and watch the amazing Chinese dances and celebrations around the world.