In the twinkling of an eye, the Spring Festival is almost gone！Today I would like to introduce the most significant festival among Chinese culture.
Chinese New Year is the longest festival in the Chinese calendar which is also known as Spring Festival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month in lunar calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. This year is the year of Pig. As it is a year that marks the end of another Chinese year cycle, it can be a time for completing unfinished business and much can be achieved as a result. People also try to have babies in the auspicious “Golden pig year“.
Preparations before the Spring Festival
10 days before this day, people have started to prepare for the event. The 23rd day of the 12th lunar month is also called ’Little New Year‘. On this day, people normally would do a thorough year-end household cleaning called ‘dedusting’ which stands for sweeping away ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck.
My Mom is the most traditional Chinese in my family and she believed that life requires a sense of rituals. So every year, she did lots of preparation for the event like house cleaning and decoration. So she went back home for house cleaning not only for our home but also my grandma’s instead of companying with me for more days.
In the Little New Year, traditional window paper-cuts(Window blossoms), New Year’s couplets and all kinds of auspicious decorations are pasted up for decorations and also to ring the old year out and the new year in.
One day before the Spring festival, people would make steamed Nian Gao（often made from glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar ）which is the most indispensable food for Chinese New Year.
People also hang red lanterns and go Spring Festival shopping to prepare for Chinese New Year.
During the Spring Festival
The sound of firecrackers marks the beginning of the Spring Festival. The custom of setting off firecrackers is originated from an ancient Chinese legend. According to the legend, setting off firecrackers is for frightening away a mythical beast called ‘Nian’. 👹
Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops and even villagers, especially children. To scary away the Nian and protect themselves, the villagers set off firecrackers, hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors.
Spring Festival is not only a day filled with happy and joyful atmosphere but also a day for family reunion.
In China, we also have the custom to eat dumplings🥟 on Chinese New Year’ Eve. ’Associate（jiao）’ is a homophone for ‘dumplings（jiaozi ) ’in Chinese expressing a meaning of reunion.
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, also known as “Eve of Passing Year”, every family would gather together for their annual reunion dinner. The dinner is definitely a feast including pigs, ducks, chicken, seafood, sweet delicacies, and even hotpot. It is the most boisterous and joyful time during a year.
After the dinner, watching the Spring Festival Party with the whole family has become a tradition on every New Year’s Eve. Spring Festival Party will last for 4 to 5 hours from 8 pm until early the next morning of Eve. Even I am not in China, I can also watch the Spring Festival Party online but I have to get up early because of the jet lag between China and America. Yeah！✌🏻～
On New Year’s Eve, many people stay up the whole night to greet the new year’s arrival, also known as New Year’s Eve Shou Sui, the common name as ‘boil years’.
From the first day of Chinese new year, people would put on their new clothes, carrying new year’s gifts to visit their friends and relatives and give them new year greetings which are called “ Spring Festival Greetings”.
The elderly people would call their friends or relatives living in another city to pass on good wishes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
Children will greet the elders by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive lucky money in a red envelope. It is said that children who received lucky money can get rid of ill-fortune and will live safely and peacefully in the new year. Some children grow in a big family can receive lots of money at the Spring Festival. In my memory, all my red envelopes are taken over by my mom and she said she will deposit for me but ending up with paying utility bills.🤦🏻♀️ But recently, some people also gradually send out their red envelopes via Wechat. If you have Wechat and wants to give me lots of greetings, please definitely do as much as you can!😄😘 I would be very appreciated！HAHAHAAAA～🤣
During Spring Festivals, a series of activities such as lion dancing, dragon lantern dancing, firework performance, and temple fair will be held for days. Going to the Temple Fair is one of the most popular activities in the Spring Festival. Vendors set up all kinds of stalls selling traditional Chinese delicacies and Chinese culture gadgets.
The 15th day of Chinese new year is the Lantern Festival which is also the last day of the Spring Festival. This is the first full moon of the new year, symbolizing unity and perfection. On Lantern Festival, people go outside to have a look at the lanterns and guess the riddles on the lanterns. Perhaps you can see some wonderful folk performances, like Dragon Dance and Yangko.
On this day, people will also eat Yuanxiao (sweet dumplings made with glutinous rice flour）for good luck and reunion, so it is also called the ” Yuanxiao Festival.” By the way, the Yuanxiao with sesame filling is my favorite！If you want to taste，you can easily find them in a Chinese grocery store.
Wish you have a happy Spring Festival and wonderful reunion time with your family. I have not been celebrating Spring Festivals with my families for totally three years so it becomes a dream for me to chase now. Nothing is more precious than what we can’t get. So please do treasure this most precious and happiest time with families. And hope I can make this dream come true next year. 💪
The following link is the original video that my pictures come from but it only has Chinese subtitles. I also attach it in the below in case you like to watch it.