Chinese New Year, also named as “Spring Festival” and “Lunar New Year”, has more than 4000 years of history. Similar to Christmas Day in Western countries, it is the most important traditional festival in China. It represents reunion, harvest and blessing for the next year. If you plan to live in China, knowing all facts about this festival is essential, which will help you communicate with Chinese, especially with the elder.
1. Chinese New Year Dates
Chinese Spring Festival starts from the first day of first month in the lunar calendar, and generally lasts about fifteen days, until the Lantern Festival. The New Year’s Eve and the first day of the new year are incredibly busy and alive. All Chinese will celebrate it in various methods.
2. Chinese New Year History and Legends
There are many legends about the origin of lunar new year like la worship, witchcraft, etc. However, the most convincing version is that spring festival is generated in Yao and Shun period (B.C. 4000-5000). One day at B.C. 2000, Shun claimed to be the king and led the army to worship the heaven and the earth. From that day on, it was regarded as the beginning of a year.
3. How to Celebrate Chinese New Year
According to Chinese traditions, Spring Festival is time for reunion, getting rid of bad luck and bringing luck. In Chinese New Year Eve, all members of a family will reunion to have dinner, and children will get red envelopes.
- House Cleaning
As dirt and old in Chinese pronounce in the same way, cleaning dirt means “clean away the dirt and the old (especially bad fortune) of the past year and usher in the new year”. Hence, all families will do house cleaning, before the Lunar New Year coming.
- Stay up late or all night on the New Year’s Eve
This activity has existed for a long time. Since the Zhou Dynasty, people will gather together to drinking wine and enjoying some snacks.
- Wish friends and relatives a happy new year
This activity usually starts on the second day of the lunar new year. On this day, Chinese will visit their relatives from door to door and express their Chinese New Year greetings, with appropriate gifts. For example, if you’re going to visit an elder on this day, you generally bring tonic, edible oil, etc. If you are a child, you are likely to get a red envelop in return from the host.
- Post Spring Festival couplets
Posting Spring Festival couplets, starting about one thousand years ago, consist of two paper scrolls, which are pasted vertically on the either side of the door, and a shorter horizontal scroll across the top. Like the image of door god, the couplet was thought to protect the household from illness and disaster.
- Paste Fu and window decoration
In China, there is a conventional saying that Fu is coming. And coming and up down in mandarin language have the same pronunciation. So we usually post Fu up down, which means good luck is coming. The other decoration is paper-cut for windows decoration, a common art in China.
- Set off firecrackers
The first day of the Lunar calendar is the beginning of a new year. On this day, the first thing is to set off firecrackers. The larger, the better.
4. Taboos in Chinese New Year
Except for the celebrations above, you also need to know what you can’t do during Chinese Spring Festival.
- Can’t sweep the floor on the first day of the lunar calendar.
- Forbidden to smash dishes, bottles or anything.
- Can’t abuse others or say something with bad meanings.
All information about Chinese new year has been introduced by now. Hope it’s useful for you. If you are interested in something about China that I haven’t talked about it, just leave the comment below or write email to me.