Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays for Chinese people. It is the longest festival of the Chinese calendar. It dates back to hundreds of years and many myths and legends are linked with this holiday. During ancient times, this festival was celebrated to pay respect to ancestors and divine beings. The celebrations of this festival start from the last day of Chinese calendar and continue till 15th of the first month of Lunisolar Year.
Other Name: Lunar New Year
Official Name: Spring Festival
Community: Chinese people
Kind: Cultural event
- The evening before the start of Chinese New Year is often celebrated by a get together dinner party among Chinese families. This evening is known as ‘Chinese New year’s Eve’. It is also called ‘Evening of the Passing’.
- The dinner party on the Chinese New Year’s Eve is called Reunion Dinner.
- The families wash out their homes so that bad luck (relating to the previous year) may be thrown away from the house and good luck (for the coming year) may get inside. This day is called Chinese New Year’s Eve.
- The doors and windows of the homes are also adorned with beautiful red-colored papers. The words like ‘good luck’ or ‘good fortune’ are usually written over them.
- In ancient times, the celebrations of Chinese New Year in Chinese language were called Nian festival which means New Year Festival.
- Another term Chinese often use for the celebrations of Chinese New Year is Guo Nian.
- The last day of the Chinese calendar is called Chinese New Year’s Eve.
- The Reunion Dinner is known as Nian Ye Fan. It is the largest occasion of Chinese New Year’s Eve.
- On Reunion Dinner, fish is usually served for the family members.
- On the last day of the Chinese New Year, a festival is celebrated which is known as Lantern Festival. It is the 15th day of first month of Lunisolar year.
- The dates at which Chinese New Year is to be celebrated are selected with the help of Lunisolar Calendar.
- There are quite a number of fairy tales and myths associated with Chinese New Year. One of these tales is that a monster used to come to eat livestock, yield and sometimes kids of the villagers. The name of this monster was Nian. Nian used to come at the start of Chinese New Year. People used to give Nian food to eat so that Nian would not have to eat their children. Once Nian got scared of red color and he never came back. Finally, a monk named Hongjun Laozu grabbed Nian.
- The day of Chinese New Year is celebrated as a public holiday in countries where Chinese live in large numbers.
Chinese New Year is by far the biggest festival of Asia that is celebrated in USA. It is also unique in its own style and the biggest occasion anywhere in the world except Asia.
- The first day of the Chinese New Year is called Yuandanwhich means ‘The First Sunrise’.
- On the very first day of Chinese New Year, family members normally go out to meet their senior-most relatives or family members like grandmother, great-grandfather and the like.
- On this day, the married family members give cash gifts to others. These monetary prizes are referred to as Red Envelopes in Chinese tradition. They are also known as Red Packets.
- The cash inside the Red Envelope is known as ‘lai see’. It is also called ‘angpow’ and of course it is a piece of good fortune.
- The business executives distribute Red Packets to their employees on Chinese New Year as a stroke of luck.
- This day is also called ‘beginning of the year’.
- The girls who are married meet their parents or other dear ones on this day. Normally, they do not get a chance to visit them after marriage.
- This day is the birthday of Che Kung.
- This day is also called ‘red mouth’.
- In Chinese, it is called ‘Chikou’.
- On this day, people do not go to meet others nor do they want others to show up. This day is believed to be an unfortunate day and every person seeks to stay at his home.
- There are some families that celebrate this festival for just 3 days and so for them, the festival ends here.
- The 5th day of Chinese New Year is the birthday of God of Wealth.
- The Chinese people living in the north love eating Jiaozi (kind of dumpling).
- In order to get good luck for the coming year from Guan Yu (a general in civil war), the Chinese also burst fireworks.
- The festival ends on the 6th day for the people in Taiwan and all businesses come back to normal once again.
- The 7th day is called renri. It is believed that humans were created on this day and therefore, it is the birthday of every human on Earth.
- Most of the Chinese people do not eat meat on this day.
- On this day, all businesses are typically come back to normal and stores are reopened.
- The employers arrange a dinner party and invite all employees to participate in order to express thanks for their efforts.
- The 9th day is the birthday of Jade Emperor.
- It is also known as Ti Kong Dan.
- In China, the Hoklo people (also called Hokkiens) hold this day as very important even the first day does not have too much value for them.
- On the eve of this day, the Hokkiens will present sugarcane as a symbol of ‘thanks’.
- In order to pay homage to Jade Emperor, the people in Taiwan prepare a three-layered altar table. The members of the house then kneel down for 3 times and ‘kowtow’ for 9 times.
- The birthday of Jade Emperor continues on this day.
- The 13th day is basically a day of Guan Yu. He was a general and the greatest Chinese leader during civil war.
- On this day, everyone becomes vegetarian and avoids eating meat. They think eating vegetables will make their stomach clean.
- The people mark this day as Yuanxiao Festival. This day is also called Lantern Festival.
- Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival. Another name for Chinese New Year is ‘Lunar New Year’.
- When the Chinese New Year approaches, tens of thousands of Chinese take a trip. This period goes on for 40 days and it is known as Chunyun period. This migration in China is by far the world’s biggest human relocation in one year.
- Apart from Asia, Chinese New Year is also celebrated in California. It is known as San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade.