We are approaching what is called the biggest festival among the Chinese in the world. Of course, the biggest country that will be celebrating Chinese New Year is China. Do you know that a lot of offices and factories closes for at least 7 days for this big event for the Chinese workers who hasn’t seen their family for a year to travel home for Chinese New Year. It is deem unfilial not to go home with gifts during this period hence every year, China has this human migration all over the country, flocking to go home.
There are a number of versions of the history of the Chinese New Year, but the most famous revolve around the mythical beast Nian. Legend says Nian is fond of threatening and eating humans, especially young children. The people, except for one old man, decided to flee and hide from the terrifying creature. The brave man decided to stay and ward off the horrifying best by using red pieces of paper and firecrackers. The people left the old man anyway. Upon their return on the next day, they were astounded to see the town was just as they left it: nothing was destroyed. The townspeople began to conclude that the old man was actually a deity who saved them and that loud noises and the colour red fend off Nian. From that day on, the people made sure to wear red clothing and decorate with red lanterns and red spring scrolls every time the New Year comes. Nian never showed his face to the people again.
Also known as the Spring Festival, it starts on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. In 2017, it falls on January 28. It is a key public holiday for the Chinese people, and it usually lasts for about 23 days. Most shops, restaurants and business are closed for several days, but supermarkets and public transportation are available (although most of the time overcrowded). Chinese New Year is celebrated not only in Mainland China but also in Singapore, Taiwan, Macau, Hongkong, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Aside from honouring the Chinese deities, the festival is time to celebrate their hard work all year long and to wish their families and friends a prosperous New Year, just like the non-Chinese New Year.
Aside from decorating their homes with red lanterns and red posters, wearing red clothing (the color red was a sort of an amulet, but now symbolizes happiness and fortune), Chinese people make sure to thoroughly clean their homes days before the New Year’s day to rid of bad luck and to welcome good luck. Families with members from different generations gather around tables to enjoy the “reunion dinner” or the New Year’s Eve dinner. They also gift gifts, usually money inside a red envelope mostly to children and seniors. Adults do not usually receive money unless it is from an employer.
Customarily, fish and dumplings (usually in Northern China) are served for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Foods like New Year Cake, Tang Yuan, Congee, and a lot of others are served depending on personal preference.
Aside from the celebration in their homes, cultural activities are also organised. These include imperial performances, ancestor worship and the famous dragon dance. They also pray in temples for bountiful fortune and luck. Firecrackers are set off; the louder they are, the better.
It is also believed that asking for money on New Year’s and cleaning the house within the first three days are huge taboos in a traditional Chinese setting. Doing so will not attract good luck.
If you are looking to travel to China during Chinese New Year or you would like to experience first hand on Chinese New Year culture in China, we can arrange for you! Just firstname.lastname@example.org and we will ensure that you will savour the full experience of local festival celebration.
Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.