Chinese New Year, one of the most important celebrations to Chinese all around the world. Whether you are in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore even in the States, you will probably be participating in some of the festive celebrations in your community.
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the first day of the Lunar Calendar but has no specific date on the Gregorian calendar. It falls anytime between late January and early February. In 2017, it falls on the 28th of January.
Aside from being the most important holiday in Taiwan, it also is the longest, being celebrated for 15 days. The official holiday, however, only lasts for a day or two dependable on different years.
Prayers to the Ancestors
The festival is time for the Chinese people to honour their deities, so they go to temples and pray. They also offer sacrifices to their ancestors.
Days before the New Year, the locals make sure to meticulously clean their homes to welcome good luck and get rid of evil spirits. The home cleaning should not be done on New Year’s Day, however, as doing so may deflect good luck and fortune.
The colour red, which symbolises joy and fortune in the Chinese tradition, is widely used during the Chinese New Year. Locals decorate their houses with red posters with Chinese sayings written on them, put up red lanterns and wear red clothing.
Flowers and Oranges
In Taiwan, plum blossom and water narcissus are also used as decorations. Plum blossom symbolises courage and hope while water narcissus symbolises good luck. Oranges symbolise luck and fortune.
Setting off of loud firecrackers is also done, which is believed to ward off bad luck or ill fortune. The louder the firecracker, the more auspicious it gets.
Visits to Family and Friends
The Chinese New Year happens during the winter season and is the perfect time for the locals to enjoy their break and visit their family and friends. They enjoy good food with the company of each other and even go to tourist spots during this time.
Young children receive cash in red envelopes, called Ang Bao given to them by married adults. The adults, however, do not receive anything in return, as it’s not customary to give gifts to them unless the gift comes from their employer. It will be a denomination of even numbers like $2, $6, $8 and $10. The number 4 is deem unlucky by the Chinese.
Bombarding Master Han Dan
This special ceremony is held in Taitung. A man is chosen to be “Master Han Dan”, the god of wealth. He wears a pair of red pants and holds a bamboo fan to shield his face. Four followers carry him on a sedan chair. The people will then throw firecrackers at him for abundance.
Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival
Held on the same day as the Lantern Festival, the people visit Yanshui Wu Temple for worship. Fireworks will be set off on the ground level, rather towards the sky, like thousands of mini rockets launching towards you. It is considered lucky to be hit by one of the rockets. No doubt, it is absolutely dangerous and one must be well prepared to be suited up in a safety suit and helmet.
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Held in Pingxi of New Taipei City, the lantern festival concludes the 15-day New Year celebration. The Kongming Lanterns were originally used to pass military secret messages, but are now used for festivals and celebrations. The lanterns are handcrafted using oiled rice paper and bamboo frame. The small candle inside it is then lit, and the heat it creates lifts the lantern up the sky. Most people write their wishes on the lanterns to send them to the gods above, hoping their wishes will be granted. It is truly a sight to behold.
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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.