Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Although regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration vary widely in China, the Spring Festival is a great way to spread a message of peace, happiness and prosperity for everyone. During this season people spend large amount of money for presents, decorations, food and for some clothing. It is also a tradition that every family should clean the house to sweep away all the bad luck and to make a way for the good incoming luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red color paper cuts with popular themes of happiness, wealth and longevity.Lanterns are red in color and oval in shape, decorations include Chinese nuts, paper cuttings, couplets and posters with Chinese sayings inscribed on it. In south china locals buy fresh flowers and citrus fruits like oranges, pemelos, etc., symbolizing luck, prosperity and longevity.
In the west they put Christmas tree during Christmas, in China they usually use peach bloom tree or orange tree and decorate it with red envelops. Also during this time that you can see people praying to their gods and ancestors this is common practice in the Southern part of China.
peach bloom tree
This is also a time for reunion, relatives from all over China and all over the world will go home to spend time with their families. Reunion dinner is held on the eve of the festival and usually in the home of the most senior member of the family, some chose to celebrate it in the restaurant. Dinner should include pork, duck, chicken, fish and sweet delicacies. In Northern China many families celebrate by making and serving dumplings, dumplings symbolize wealth while in Southern China glutinous rice cake is prepared and send to relatives and friends.
glutinous rice cake
After dinner some families may go to temples and pray for prosperity some hold parties and wait for the countdown.
The New Year is not complete without fireworks and red envelop with money inside of it. Red envelops are given by married couples and elderly to younger and unmarried relatives and for adults to children.
Dragon dance and lion dance are also common practice it is believed that the beating of drums and cymbals, together with the faces and aggressive dancing of the dragon or lion can drive away bad or evil spirits.
Pinyin: X¨innián kuàilè
Cantonese: San nin faai lok
English: Happy New Year
When children request red packets from adults, or singles request them from married couples, they will say:
Pinyin: G¨ngx¨« f¨¡cái, hóngb¨¡o nálái
Cantonese: Gung hei faat choi, lai see dau loi
English: Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope!
We spent our New Year in Shenzhen a city near Hongkong, while on the bus going to an entertainment park, an old lady gave us a track, she gave it first to the lady who was giving tickets but she did not accept it, she gave again to the man besides her, he refused to accept as well and finally she gave it to us, my husband accepted it, I can’t forget the smile on her face when my husband took the tracks. I wish I have the guts to do that, It was my first time to see someone giving tracks in the public.