The Rich Customs and Traditions of Chinese New Year
Spring Festival -Chinese Traditional Festival
Chinese New Year, which is also called Spring Festival, is the most important festivities in Chinese tradition and the longest one in the lunar calendar. The New Year is celebrated from the first day of the first month in Chinese calendar and lasts for fifteen days. The fifteenth day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival. The customs and traditions of the festival is centuries old and this itself indicates the importance given to the festival.
The days before the New Year Eve are spend doing preparation for the great day. People clean their houses to let out the bad luck. Then they keep the brooms and cleaning sweeps out of view so that they do not sweep away the good luck that would come with the arrival of the New Year. In houses where Buddhism and Taoism are prevalent, they clean the statues and remove the old decorations on the altars. They burn these decorations and put new ones. People decorate their windows with red decoration papers and even paint their windows with new coat of red paint. The cooking are all finished before the New Year day so that knives would not bring any harm to the family members.
People believe that the Kitchen God is send from the heaven to take care of the family affairs and that the God would give a report of family regarding how it went during the last year to the ruler of heaven. They burn the statue of the God so that he can go to submit the report before the New Year.
Before burning, they smear honey and sugar on the lips of the Kitchen God so that he says only good about the family and burn gold and silver coins along with the statue for meeting the expenses of traveling. In country side, people make a sweet sticky cake for the God to please him as well as to stick his mouth to prevent speaking ill about the family.
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The New Year eve
The New Year eve supper is a great feast and all the family members will be present for the feast. Chicken, fish, duck, mandarin orange, noodles, sweets, cakes and many other dishes are served for the feast. Dumpling (Jiaozi) is a very special steamed rice dish served during the occasion. This is prepared fresh by the stroke of midnight and people often hide a coin inside one of the dumpling. It is believed that the family member who receives the dumpling with the coin will be the luckiest throughout the year.
During the New Year, red color is very special, which is believed to fend off bad luck. People wear red cloths, decorate their houses with red papers and children receive red envelops with money in it as presents. People do not sleep the whole night and spend time playing games, watching television programs regarding the special occasion and some also spend time in temples praying to welcome the new year. With the advent of the midnight, people use firecrackers to celebrate the arrival of the new year. People consider the New Year day as their birthdays and regard as one year older on this day. They give less importance to the birthday dates. Lion dance and Dragon dance are specialties, which are believed to bring good luck.
The last day, at the Lantern festival, children carry brightly lit lanterns to symbolize hope and luck. They also celebrate by eating small dumplings. This is the day after which everything comes to normal, and people once again get indulged in their daily routines.
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