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8 CHINESE NEW YEAR TRADITIONS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE

One of the most highly anticipated festivals for the Chinese has to be the annual Chinese New Year. 

Chinese New Year is the time when families get together for a family reunion. An important aspect of this festivity is also its traditions which have been kept for many generations.

If you have always been curious about the significance of spring cleaning and why are we told by our parents to stay up past midnight on the Eve of Chinese New Year, we have consolidate the 8 Chinese New Year Traditions And Their Significance for your reference.

  1. Spring Cleaning 

Before the Chinese New Year festivities begin, Chinese households usually make it a point to spring clean the entire house thoroughly. Besides making the house clean, neat for guests to visit, it is also a way of “sweeping away bad luck”.

  1. Praying to the ancestors

Chinese people are very respectful of their ancestors. The New Year Celebrations can only begin after paying respect to the ancestors on New Year’s Eve. This is also part of the Chinese New Year traditions.

  1. Reunion Dinner

The reunion dinner is one of the most important traditions of the celebration. It is also known as “团年 -  Tuan Nian” (reunite or grouping year).

  1. Shou Shui (守岁)

Parents usually urge their children to stay up until midnight after the reunion dinner to send away the old year and welcome the new year. It is believed that the longer the children stay awake at night, the longer their parents will live in return.

  1. Fireworks
While most people think that fireworks are just showstoppers for entertainment, there is meaning behind it. Fireworks were first introduced into the festival in China to drive away evil spirits.
It has been said that a mystical beast called Nian (年) ate livestock on the eve of Chinese New Year. To chase it away, the people lit firecrackers in hopes that the machine gun-like sound from the firecrackers would scare it away.
  1. Chinese New Year Dishes
For this meal, the best food and dishes with good meanings are served in abundance, as they believe abundance food can bring great material wealth in the following Year. One of the most popular Chinese New Year Traditions is to have fish because there’s a pun in Chinese 年年有余 (means may there be surpluses every year). “May there be fish every year” also sounds the same. The fish will be eaten whole and usually left some leftover to symbolize “having leftover of surpluses from the past year”.
Another popular dish will be “ ” (year cake) which sounds like a high year. It is believed to symbolize a higher income, a higher position, the growth of children, and generally “the promise of a better year”. It is considered good luck to eat it during the Chinese New Year period.
  1. Chinese New Year Greetings
Chinese New Year traditions are to give “红包 – Hong Bao” (translated directly to red pocket) containing money. Usually, the married couple and the older family member give it to the children. Working adults also give their elders to share the blessing.
 
恭喜发财,红包拿来 – Gōng xǐ fā cái, hóngbāo ná lái” is a common greeting during the New Year for children meaning “wishing you a prosperous in the upcoming year; so please bring a red packet money for me too”. 
  1. Red Packet (红包 – Hong Bao)

Red packets are a channel for sending good wishes and luck and it is given to bring happiness and blessing to those who are receiving it. It is considered rude to open your red packet in front of the giver.



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