How to Celebrate Chinese New Year
New Year is one of the most important celebrations in Chinese culture. It is without a doubt a very special day, full of celebrations, joy and family. Read on to discover a detailed description on how Chinese New Year is celebrated in China and in other countries. As is the case with most celebrations, every family and country has its own ways of celebrating, but some traditions are maintained throughout families and areas.
Decorating the house is an important element of Chinese New Year. As red symbolizes good luck in Chinese culture, red decorations are often used to decorate.
Typically, red lanterns are hung from the ceiling or on trees, meant to drive away bad luck. Red paper cuttings are also made and glued to windows. Moreover, red envelopes are also given with money inside. It is also meant to bring good luck and prosperity.
Couplets with auspicious symbols, about the arrival of spring or simply with good wishes are placed on doors.
Flowers, especially peonies are also often used to decorate. All decorations are meant to bring in the best for the New Year.
Cleaning the house right before Chinese New Year is also an important tradition, meant to "sweep away" the bad luck that has accumulated in the previous year.
Preparing a huge meal on New Years Eve is obligatory for Chinese families. The tradition is that no one should be cooking on New Years Day. Chinese families will prepare a large meal meant to last two days. On the Eve, they eat a big feast, and on the Day they eat the leftovers, this is because they believe that this food will attract good luck.
Traditional plates prepared on Chinese New Year are fish, dumplings, New Years cake (a solid cake made with rice flour and sugar), Tang Yuan (a small ball made with rice flour and water).
Getting a haircut. In the days before the New Year is typical to cut your hair since it is said to be bad luck to cut anything on the first days of the year.
Buying a new outfit. The tradition is to wear a new outfit on the first day of the New Year, ideally a red one, as red is the colour of joy and luck, and red clothes are said to feed the spirit of the party. It is best to avoid wearing black on Chinese New Year as it is said to bring bad luck.
Spend time with family and friends. Chinese friends and family exchange red envelopes filled with money or small gifts. The amount of money given in a red envelope should be an even digit, for luck. The numbers 8 and 88 are especially lucky because the word that means eight sounds like the word for prosperity.
Chinese New Year is an auspicious time that brings great happiness and good luck, and it is important to do good things. You must avoid negativity, arguments and fights, as negative behavior is said to bring bad luck for the whole year.
"Gung Hey Choy" is the typical greeting used on Chinese New Year. Make sure to wish everyone "gung hey choy" to wish them prosperity and wealth.
Make 3 wishes on Chinese New Year. Some say that 75% of what we wish for on New Years will come true. For this to happen, you must write three wishes, then tie them to a tree with a red ribbon so that your wishes blow in the wind.
It is tradition to parade on the street to sing, dance and make fireworks. At a New Year´s parade, you will definitely see large beautifully decorated dragons and other animals held by many people, moving in a snakelike fashion throughout the crowd.
The Chinese New Year is always associated with an animal. To know the animals assigned to each year, read How to know my Chinese zodiac sign by date of birth.
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