I’m sure that most of you have heard of Chinese Lunar New Year if you learned Chinese language or the culture of China. Chinese New Year, also named Spring Festival, is the most important festival in China which usually starts from the 29th or 30th day of December in the lunar calendar and lasts for about fifteen days. During these fifteen days, we will celebrate specifically the New Year Eve and the Lantern Festival, which means the end of the Spring Festival. Today, in this article I will introduce Chinese New Year Eve in details including its origin, meaning and how we usually celebrate it.
1. What is Chinese New Year’s Eve?
Before we get down to explaining Chinese New Year Eve, I would like to talk about Christmas Eve at first. As we know, Christmas Eve is the evening or entire day before Christmas Day which is widely observed as a full or partial holiday in anticipation of Christmas Day. It is the same with Chinese New Year Eve, the last evening of December in the lunar calendar. In Chinese language, it pronounced “除夕(chú xī)”. 除(chú) means to get rid of or to remove, and 夕(xī) means evening. When combined together, 除夕 means to get rid of bad forture in the last year and to welcome the good luck in the new year. That’s why Chinese New Year Eve is called as one of the Ancestor Worship Festivals in China, with Tomb-Sweeping Day, Zhong Yuan Festival and Double Ninth Festival.
2. How do We usually Celebrate New Year’s Eve?
As one of the most important traditional festivals, New Year Eve has variety in the ways of celebrating including eating family reunion dinner, posting couplets, paper cuttings and the good fortune character, setting off firecrackers, hanging lantern, worshipping ancestors, and distributing red envelopes.
3. What is the Origin of Chinese New Year Eve?
It is said that there is a huge animal with four horns and four legs named 夕(xī) in the ancient times. It looks extremely ferocious and angry so that all people are afraid of it. Due the heavy snow and lack of food, it usually hang around the villiage to search for food on the 29th or 30th of December in the lunar calendar which brings great disaster for people. Then people accidentally found that 夕 is afraid of firecrackers, and they expelled it by setting off firecrackers. To forbid this animal visiting the villiage again, setting off firecrackers was kept as a tradition. That’s why we name Chinese New Year’s Eve as 除夕.