Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I decided to give you more in-depth knowledge of China and the Chinese New Year since it will most probably be my last post about it.

Here is a few of the traditions during the Chinese New Year:

The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visits to kin, relatives and friends, a practice known as "new-year visits" (拜年 – Bai4 Nian2). New clothing is usually worn to signify a new year. The color red is liberally used in all decorations. Red packets (红包 Hong Bao) are given to juniors and children by the married and elders.

Days before the New Year
On the days before the New Year celebration Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-panes a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets. Purchasing new clothing, shoes and receiving a hair-cut also symbolize a fresh start.
The biggest event of any Chinese New Year's Eve is the dinner every family will have. A dish consisting of fish will appear on the tables of Chinese families. It is for display for the New Year's Eve dinner. This meal is comparable to Christmas dinner in the West. In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings (饺子 – Jiao Zi) after dinner and have it around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape is like a Chinese tael. By contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a new year cake (年糕 – Nian Gao) after dinner and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days of the new year.

First day of the New Year
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.
Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers.
While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular

Second day of the New Year
The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.
They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs.

Third and fourth days of the New Year
The third and fourth day of the Chinese New Year are generally accepted as inappropriate days to visit relatives and friends due to the following schools of thought. People may subscribe to one or both thoughts.
1) It is known as "chì kǒu" (赤口), meaning that it is easy to get into arguments. It is suggested that the cause could be the fried food and visiting during the first two days of the New Year celebration.
2) Families who had an immediate kin deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead. Some people conclude it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all.
Fifth day of the new year
In northern China, people eat dumplings (饺子 Jiao3 Zi) on the morning of Po Wu (破五). This is also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth.

Seventh day of the New Year
The seventh day, traditionally known as Ren Ri 人日 is the common man's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older.

Ninth day of the New Year
The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天公) in the Taoist Pantheon. The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor.

Fifteenth day of the New Year
The fifteenth day of the New Year is celebrated as Yuan2 Xiao1 Jie2 (元宵节). Rice dumpling汤圆- Tang1 Yuan2), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.
This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

Text edited from Wikipedia entry