Everything you need to know about Chinese New Year !
It’s that time of year again where streets and buildings are bursting with vivid red colour and decorations. Shopping malls are bustling with people buying gifts and food while people at home are planning for visits to their family and elders whom they might not have seen for a while. It’s Chinese New Year! Also known as the ‘Spring Festival’, Chinese New Year is a time to look forward to the arrival of Spring, bid farewell to the Year of the Rooster and to welcome the Year of the Dog.
TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS
How do households prepare for this big holiday? Usually a week before the New Year starts, it is a tradition to thoroughly clean the house from top to bottom. The significance of this is to rid of the old and to welcome the new. However, people put away their brooms and cleaning supplies on New Year’s Eve because some believe that if you do clean on this day, you might be sweeping away good fortune.
Other Chinese New Year Superstitions:
Decorations are put up to welcome the New Year such as red couplets, red lanterns or New Year paintings. As it is the Year of the Dog this year, there will be many decorations related to dogs as well. Red couplets are usually posted on doorways and have messages related to good luck, happiness, fortune and prosperity.
Children and unmarried juniors are the most happiest when it comes to the New Year because they get to receive red envelopes with money inside. Like many of the traditions, giving and receiving red envelopes signify sending good wishes and luck and receiving happiness and blessings.
There is a great emphasis on what types of food should be eaten at New Year’s because each type of dish has to have a symbolic meaning. Take a look at some of the ‘lucky’ traditional foods and what special meaning is attached to them:
The most important New Year’s tradition is none other than the ‘reunion dinner’. This is a time for families to reunite and catch up with family members that are maybe too busy, or are not around home for a long time. Besides meeting with family during the reunion dinner, people will visit other family members at their home to bring and receive blessings.
New Years is not only a time for happiness and plentiful food, but also a time for showing respect and piety. On this day, it is also customary for families to honour their ancestors by offering sacrifices and sweeping the tombs.
When we see someone at New Year’s, we give them a greeting to wish them the best for the New Year. Let’s see how we can say some greetings in English:
“Good luck and great success in the coming New Year.”
“Hope all your wishes come true!”
“I want to wish you longevity and health!”
“Wishing you huge blessings in the Year of the Dog!”
“I wish you wealth and prosperity.”
“Hope you put in a small investment and reap a huge profit.”
“May wealth come pouring in.”
“May you have great luck and great profit.”
“May your career take off”
“Wishing you harmony and joy for the whole family.”
Did You Know?
Legend has it that near a huge peach tree, stood two guards who guarded the entrance to the ghost world. The guards protected people from ghosts so people used to hang a piece of peach wood with the names of the two guards on it to ward off evil spirits. Around the time of the Song Dynasty, people wrote auspicious couplets on the peach wood instead of the names of the guards. To this day, writing red couplets on red paper replaced the tradition of writing on peach wood, while the meaning of these couplets changed from serving as a protective emblem to expressing best wishes through writing.