Chinese New Year Traditions
Celebrated over fifteen days, Chinese New Year traditions include lavish celebrations, festivals and food. The most important of all Chinese holidays, Chinese New Year is celebrated annually on the first day of the Chinese calendar, generally in late January or early February. Before celebrating the holiday yourself, read on to learn more about Chinese New Year traditions.
- Fireworks - Originally used in the Chinese New Year tradition to scare off evil spirits, a number of firecrackers and fireworks are set off in modern times to ring in the new year.
- Jie Cai Ceng: Welcoming the Gods of Wealth and Prosperity - Taking place on the fifth day of the Chinese New Year celebrations, Jie Cai Ceng marks both celebrations by business owners and the start date for many holiday vacationers.
- Red - The color red is especially important in Chinese New Year traditions as it represents prosperity. Referred to as "hong bao" in Mandarin, red envelopes are stuffed with money and given to those who are young or single and unemployed.
- Yuan Xiao Jie: Festival of Lanterns - Celebrated on the fifteenth day in Chinese New Year traditions, the Festival of Lanterns features a multitude of lanterns that are lit in the streets. Many feature animals, especially the animal of the year.
- Cleaning - As a superstition in Chinese New Year traditions, cleaning one's home plays a part in the holiday. Many believe starting the Chinese New Year with a clean home removes the bad luck from the past year and brings luck into the new year.
- Dragons - Often seen dancing in the streets along with lions, dragons are prominent in Chinese New Year celebrations. In Chinese history, dragons represent ancestors and symbols of fertility and poise.
- Food - Many types of food from fruit to fish to candy are prominent in Chinese New Year traditions. The holiday begins on the first night with a huge meal that is enjoyed by family members and friend. Fish is especially important as it represents prosperity, but is generally not consumed when served as the final course.
- Gatherings - As many are off from work during the holiday, all fifteen days of the Chinese New Year are filled with celebrations with loved ones. Quite often, family members rotate hosting the gatherings at their various homes.
- Parades - Featuring dancing performers, animals and lavish displays, streets fill with parades and others celebrating the Chinese New Year.
- Animals - Using a rotating cycles of twelve animals, each Chinese New Year marks the end of the year of one animal and the beginning of another. Among the animals include the rat, tiger, dragon, snake, monkey, rooster, pig and dog.