5 Things You Might Not Know About Chinese New Year’s Traditions
Chinese New Year is the most important day on the Chinese calendar. It is celebrated by more than 20% of people around the world. As we all know, during Chinese New Year, people have a lot of things to do such as; new year shopping, sending greeting cards, visiting friends or families, and others. But there are so much more interesting things that Chinese people do on Chinese New Year. Here are 5 cultures that you might not know about Chinese New Year’s traditions!
- House cleaning
Cleaning the house is a must-do activity on the day before Chinese New Year. This tradition is a method to “sweep out the old in order to usher in the new.” A year-end cleaning is needed to drive the old things or bad luck away from the house and to prepare themselves for a new start as well.
Most Chinese people won’t clean their house three days before the New Year. Why is that? It’s because they believe that by sweeping, they will sweep away all the good fortune.
- Putting up decorations
Decorating is very crucial to indicate the importance of the event and also to show some purposes behind it. Chinese people usually decorate their house with something red such as red lanterns, red paper cut-outs, red carpet, and some new year paintings. They believe that red could give them great luck.
Besides the many tales they had, most of the Chinese people decorate their house to keep the evil away and also to pray for something good to come.
- Family dinner
They said Chinese New Year is about family and food. Family dinner is also important because it could bring up the togetherness and happiness. A full table of family members symbolizes the hopes for prosperity on the new year.
On Chinese New Year, you need to eat these 7 magical foods to achieve the good fortune. Those foods are;
1) Fish (increased prosperity),
2) Dumplings (wealth),
3) Spring rolls (wealth),
4) Tangyuan – Sweet Rice Balls (family togetherness),
5) Good Fortune Fruit (fullness and wealth),
6) Naingao – Glutinous Rice Cake (higher income and position), and
7) Noodles (longevity and happiness).
- Setting off firecrackers and fireworks
Chinese New Year celebration won’t be without firecrackers or fireworks. Chinese people believe firecrackers were originally used to scare away the evil spirits. The explosive sound of those firecrackers scared away some monsters that were destroying their houses on Chinese New Year. Also, the fireworks could brighten up the atmosphere of a great celebration!
- Giving red envelopes
Red envelopes (also known as 红包 – hóngbāo), is a monetary gift which is given during Chinese New Year itself or some special occasions such as weddings, graduations or birthdays. According to the Chinese New Year tradition, red envelopes are given by senior family members to their juniors relations. By giving hongbao to children, elders are hoping to pass on the new year with good fortune and blessings. The children are going to achieve the same thing too because it’s like exchanging the blessings and good wishes.
There are some specific rules about the red envelope. Married adults and seniors are the ones who allowed to give the red envelope to the young ones. The amount is given in red envelopes never includes number 4. Chinese people pronounce “4” as “si” which means “death”.