- Holidays and Celebrations
Spring Festival-chinese new year
Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the lunar calendar. It is a festival which all the family members back to their hometown and group together and sharing their story throughout the year.
The Spring Festival falls on the 1st day of the 1st lunar month. It originated in the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC-c. 1100 BC) from the people's sacrifice to gods and ancestors at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.
The most important day in chinese new year are chinese new year eve, the first three day of chinese new year and chap goh meh(last day of chinese new year).
According to the legends, people starting to celebrate Chine New Year after they survive from the Nian attacked. Nian is a mythical beast that only will come out on the night before Chinese New Year to devour human being especially children. On the first day of Chinese New Year, the entire survivor will say "gong xi gong xi" which means congratulation to each others. Somehow, the villager found that Nian was scared of red colour. Hence, the villagers will hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on their windows and doors. Those villagers also use firecrackers to frighten the Nian as they found that Nian scared of the noisy sound. From then on, Nian never came to the village again and people use to put firecracker, hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year's Eve
A time of gratitude and family togetherness, New Year's Eve is spent by bidding farewell to the old year and thanking one's ancestors and the gods for their blessing and protection. Children who have left their hometowns return on this day to share New Year's Eve Dinner with their families, and for those unable to make the journey, a table setting is placed to symbolize their presence in spirit if not in body. At the end of dinner, the parents and older generation give Ang Pao(red envelope) to the children, who have been waiting with growing anticipation for this moment to arrive. Finally, to watch the old year out and bring in the new year, families stay up until the wee hours of New Year's Day.
15 days of Chinese New Year
Nian Chu Yi (First Day of CNY)
The first day of the Lunar New Year is "the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth."Many people abstain from meat on the first day of the new year because it is believed that this will ensure long and happy lives for them.Beside this, to insure the arrival of luck and wealth in the new year, several taboos must be heeded. Floors may not be swept and garbage may not be disposed for fear of casting riches out the door; cussing and quarreling is to be avoided at all costs; and anyone who breaks a dish on this day must quickly say "Shui Shui Pin An"(Peace for all time) to avoid incurring misfortune.Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.
Nian Chu Er (2nd day of CNY)
"Nian Chu Er, Hui Niang Jia". According to the tradition, on the second day of the new year, married women return to their natal home to visit family. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.
Nian Chu San (3rd day of CNY)
The 3rd day of CNY known as "Chi gou Ri'(Red Dog Day), Red Dog is the name of the God of Anger, who brings bad luck to people. Normally this day are claim as not a good day for socialize so people don't like to go out on this day, otherwise they can lose temper easily and have argument with others.http://www.squidoo.com/lensmaster/new_workshop/spr...
Nian Chu Si (4th day of CNY)
Welcoming the God Of Stove. On the 24th of 12th lunar month, The God of Stove went back the Heaven to report his duty. The God of Stove will return the house on the 4th lunar day of Chinese New Year. Normally people will prepare food, fruit and wine to welcome the return of the God Of Stove.
Nian Chu Si (5th day of CNY)
After the 5 day vacation, people are ready to go back to their work place. Most of the companies will open business on the 5th day of CNY. This is also the birthday of the Chinese God Of Wealth. People will explode the long firecrackers to get the attention of the God Of Wealth to ensure the good fortune for the new year.
Nian Chu Liu (6th day of CNY)
According to the history, this day is the death anniversary of the Clear-Water Grand Master. The Master was a monk in Sung dynasty. He prayed for rain many times to save people during the drought. He persuaded people to build many bridges and to plant trees. Many miracle events happened after his death. Once he lived at Clear-Water Rock Mountain. So people call him Clear-Water Grand Master. His temple will have a big ceremony on this day. Many people are still on holiday vacation and will go to attend the ceremony.
Nian Chu Qi (7th day of CNY)
This day also known as "Ren ri" (birthday of all human being). According to Chinese genesis, the goddess with snake body (2852-2738 B.C.) created chicken on the first day of the first lunar month, dog on the 2nd day, sheep on the 3rd day, pig on the 4th day, cow on the 5th day, horse on the 6th and human on the 7th day. It is the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten. People get together to toss the colourful salad and make wishes for continued wealth and prosperity.
Nian Chu Ba (8th day of CNY)
It is known as The Completion Day which means people should return from the holiday vacation and go back to work. Everything will back to normal.
Nian Chu Jiu (9th day of CNY)
The Birthday of King of Heaven - Jade Emperor. To celebrate his birthday, Chinese prepare three bundles of long noodle, three tea cup with green tea, five different kinds of fruit and six different kinds of dry vegetables to worship Jade Emperor.
Nian Chu Shi (10th day of CNY)
The other day when the Jade Emperor's birthday is celebrated.
Nian Shi San (13th day of CNY)
The Death Anniversary of General Guan Yu (God Of War). He represents loyalty, strength, truth, and justice. On this day, people will visit the temple of General Guan Yu and pray for safety and wealth as before his life ended, Guan Yu had won over one hundred battles. Due to this, Guan Yu also known as God Of Sucess.
Nian Shi Wu (15th day of CNY)
The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuan Xiao Festival or Lantern Festival, otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect.
It is known as Yuan Xiao Festival as the chinese eat Yuan Xiao on this day. Yuan Xiao is just look and taste like Tang Yuan(glutinous rice ball), the different between this two are the way the made.
The 15th day of CNY also known as Eastern Valentine's day. This day is celebrated by individuals seeking for a love partner
Chinese New Year Food
Is usually eaten or merely displayed on the eve of Chinese New Year. The pronunciation of fish (yu) makes it a homophone for "surpluses". It also represent togetherness and abundance.
The most popular and most abundant fruit during Chinese New Year.
Most popular in eastern China (Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai) because its pronunciation is a homophone for "a more prosperous year. Nian gao is made up of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar.
Families may serve uncut noodles, which represent longevity and long life, though this practice is not limited to the new year.
Signify having many male offspring.
Raw fish salad. Eating this salad is said to bring good luck. This dish is usually eaten on the seventh day of the New Year, but may also be eaten throughout the period.
Great Stuff on Amazon
Chinese New Year Decorations
The Chinese character "fu" (meaning blessing or happiness) is a must. The character put on paper can be pasted normally or upside down, for in Chinese the "reversed fu" is homophonic with "fu comes", both being pronounced as "fudaole." What's more, two big red lanterns can be raised on both sides of the front door. Red paper-cuttings can be seen on window glass and brightly colored New Year paintings with auspicious meanings may be put on the wall.
Plants and Flowers
Every traditional Chinese household should also have live blooming plants to symbolize rebirth and new growth. Flowers are
believed to be symbolic of wealth and high positions in one's career. Lucky is the home with a plant that blooms on New Year's Day,
for that foretells a year of prosperity. In more elaborate settings, plum blossoms just starting to bloom are arranged with bamboo
and pine sprigs, the grouping symbolizing friends &endash; the plum blossom also signifies reliability and perseverance;
the bamboo is known for its compatibility, its utility and its flexible stems for furniture and other articles;the evergreen pine
evokes longevity and steadiness.
The candy tray arranged in either a circle or octagon is called "The Tray of Togetherness" and has a dazzling array of candy to start the New Year sweetly.
Taboos and Superstitions of Chinese New Year
The entire house should be cleaned before New Year's Day. On New Year's Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. After New Year's Day, the floors may be swept. Beginning at the door, the dust and rubbish are swept to the middle of the parlor, then placed in the corners and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day. At no time should the rubbish in the corners be trampled upon. In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold, you will sweep one of the family away. Also, to sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door.
Bringing In the New Year and Expelling the Old
Shooting off firecrackers on New Year's Eve is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the New Year. On the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, every door in the house, and even windows, have to be open to allow the old year to go out.
New Year Activities Set Precendent
All debts had to paid by this time. Nothing should be lent on this day, as anyone who does so will be lending all the year. Back when tinder and flint were used, no one would lend them on this day or give a light to others.
Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words. Negative terms and the word "four" (Ssu), which sounds like the word for death, are not to be uttered. Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo. References to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.
If you cry on New Year's day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they are mischievous.
Personal Appearance and Cleanliness
On New Year's Day, we are not suppose to wash our hair because it would mean we would have washed away good luck for the New Year. Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is believed that appearance and attitude during New Year's sets the tone for the rest of the year. Children and unmarried friends, as well as close relatives are given lai see, little red envelopes with crisp one dollar bills inserted, for good fortune.
- "Chinese Superstitions"
Other information about Chinese superstitions.