The Chinese zodiac cycles every 12 years with 12 animals, and every year, a new animal starts the Chinese New Year. You can also call Chinese New Year “Spring Festival”, as it marks the beginning of the new year and the beginning of Spring in the traditional Chinese calendar.
Spring Festival is the most important and popular festival in China. It is a time of year for people in China to mark a new year with traditional celebrations and engage in cultural activities with family.
These are 3 phenomenons you may not have known about Chinese New Year.
1. Enjoy a Large Meal
During Spring Festival, Chinese people get together and have a large dinner on the eve of the Lunar New Year. Before the festivities actually begin, during the evening before, called Spring Festival Eve, you will see many people set off fireworks and firecrackers.
This is done with the hope of casting away any bad luck and to bring good luck for the new lunar year. Food items on the menu include dumplings (for most of Northern China) and rice dumplings, these are some of the most traditional foods. In preparation for this important event, Chinese people usually clean and decorate their houses before Spring Festival.
2. Decorate Accordingly
For Spring Festival, people in China will put New Year paintings on the wall, post poetic verses, like Spring Festival couplets, and decorate with red lanterns. Traditionally, the color red in China symbolizes success and harmony, which is why there are numerous red decorations during Spring Festival.
In addition, people will place paper-cuttings on main doors or windows for good fortune and prosperities. The last day of the Spring Festival is called the Lantern Festival. People in China will usually go to parks to see beautiful displays of lanterns, of which there are different stories for each of the lanterns. They play an important part in the traditional celebration of the last day of Spring Festival to bring good luck next year.
3. Exchange Gifts
Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days! It is an important time for family to be together, give gifts, and send warm greetings to each other.
A common practice is for children to receive money from their parents and relatives. This money is typically given in a red packet and is meant to symbolize good luck and protection. It is also very common for children (and some adults) to wear new clothes that they receive as gifts on the first day of Spring Festival.
Chinese New Year is a special time of year for those in China. It is a time for a fresh start and a happy time to relax and be in the company of family. Each family may celebrate a bit differently, but there are commonalities throughout China. The most important common thread is to spend and enjoy time with your loved ones.
Curious to learn more about China and how my experience with EdOdyssey changed me? Check out How Chinese Food in China Changed Me Forever!