|Chinese New Year’s Traditional Activities|
|Learn Chinese - History and Culture|
Also, people will go shopping and buy new clothes for the festival. Chinese people believe that since this is a year anew they should buy a lot of new things. Purchasing new items symbolizes welcoming new things and getting ready for a new year.
After the cleaning, people will decorate the house to welcome the Chinese New Year. Most of the decorations are red in color, which is a typical festival color traditionally representing pleased spirit in China. The most popular New Year decorations including Couplets, Paper-Cuts, the Chinese character “Fu”, The Gate Gods, Chinese Knots and red paper lanterns.
In addition to pasting couplets on both sides and above the main door, it is also common to hang calligraphic writing of the Chinese characters for "spring," "wealth," and "blessing." Some people will even invert the drawings of blessing since the Chinese for "inverted" is a homonym in Chinese for "arrive," thus signifying that spring, wealth, or blessing has arrived.
The Chinese character “Fu”
It is often displayed upside down on the front door of a house or dwelling to signify that good luck came because the phrase "upside-down Fu" sounds virtually identical to the phrase "Good luck arrives."
The Gate Gods
The tradition of pasting the gate gods began during the Tang Dynasty and gradually people created the fortune gods also, as a gate god to bless people so they can have a fortuneful new year.
Reunion dinner (nián yè fàn 年夜饭) is held on New Year's Eve of the Chinese New Year, during which family members get together to celebrate. It is the most important dinner for Chinese and this is the best time for family reunion in the whole year, especially for those with family member away from home. Children are supposed to return to their families, married couples will go the the male’s relatives (and to the female's relatives on the second day of the festivities).
In the New Year's Eve dinner, normally fish will be served. Dumplings are the most important disk in Northern China. These two dishes mean prosperous. Other disks are depending on personal preference.
Lucky Money (Red Envelope)
Lucky money is prepared for children by adults and the elderly and given after the reunion dinner. There are no clear literary sources from which to trace the origin of the red envelope tradition. In China, during the Qin Dynasty, the elderly would thread coins with a red string. The money was called yasui qian (yā suì qián 压岁钱) meaning "money warding off evil spirits", and was believed to protect the elderly from sickness and death. The lucky money was replaced by red envelopes when printing presses became more common and is now found written using the homophone for suì that means 'old age' instead of 'evil spirits'.
In folk culture, the children will live safe and sound for the whole year if they get lucky money. This custom still remains and the amount of money is increasing. Children use their money to buy books or other school supplies. Some families also save the money for future use or use it to help cultivate in their children the habit of saving.
Pay a New Year Call
An important activity during the Spring Festival is Pay a New Year call (bài nián 拜年). People start to pay New Year calls from the lunar New Year's Day, that is, the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar.
On the morning of the lunar New Year's Day, people get up very early and call on others. The earlier one does so, the more sincere he is. Moreover, people wear new clothes and a new cap, symbolizing that a new year has begun. The younger generation should call on their elders first, such as the grandfather, grandmother, father, and mother, wishing them "Good health" and "Long life". Then the elders give children some money in a red envelope as a New Year gift. After that, people call on their relatives, friends and neighbors. Nowadays, people also use telephones and e-mails to pay New Year calls.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 03 February 2013 16:04|
|History and Culture|