Published on:
February 13, 2016

by: Tom

Chinese New Year: key traditions you should know about

Decorating Houses:

Houses are decorated with red lanterns, red couplets, New Year paintings, and red lanterns. 2016 is a year of the Monkey, so monkey images will appear on decorations. People may decorate their houses using some or all of the following things…

Mmmm, the New Year’s Eve Feast!

The New Year’s Eve Feast is a sumptuous dinner with all family members. Chinese try very hard to make this family event, often traveling long distances. Many new year foods are symbolic, for example in northern China a traditional dish for the feast is jiaozi (dumplings). They are shaped like old Chinese ingots, symbolizing wealth. Southern Chinese eat niangao (sticky rice cake), because niangao sounds like “yearly higher”, symbolising improvement.

Watching CCTV’s New Year Gala

Everyone gathers round to watch the CCTV New Year Gala while having their dinner. The Gala starts at 8pm and ends at midnight when the New Year arrives, featuring traditional, folk, and pop performances from China’s best singers, dancers, and acrobats.

Giving Red Envelopes (Lucky Money) to Children

Parents give their children red envelopes after dinner, wishing them health, growth, and good studies in the coming year. Red envelopes always have money in, as they’re believed to bring good luck!

As the clock strikes 12…

The moment New Year arrives there is a tremendous let off of fireworks and firecrackers, even in rural China. Lighting firecrackers is one of the most important customs of the Chinese New Year celebration, but because of the danger and the noise disturbance they cause, the government has banned this practice in many major cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Fireworks that explode in the air are still allowed in most of the country.  It is a major custom performed to scare off evil spirits and the monster of Nian. Interestingly, nián, the name of the monster is also the word for year in Chinese.


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