Chinese New Year Customs And Traditions

The Chinese New Year Spring Festival is a colourful and lively event with much celebrating. Parades are held, fireworks set off and dragons roam the streets. These dragon puppets and huge costumes form part of the annual rituals and traditions. The festival is a period of peace, happiness and a time to be with family and friends. Chinese people try to get home to spend the night with their family over a meal and celebration.

Chinese New Year Decorations

Decorations are put in the front of houses and colourful calligraphy which is called Chun Lian are placed on doors and walls. Doors and windows are sealed and painted red for good luck. The seals are then broken on New Year's Day, clothes are changed and people go round visiting families and friends.

Plants are placed inside houses to symbolise rebirth and new growth. Fresh flowers in the house bring wealth and a higher position and promotion in a career.

In China homes are cleaned thoroughly to sweep out bad luck and to see in the New Year with good luck. Red is worn because this colour wards off evil spirits and is bright and happy and will help the person who wears red have a sunny future.

Gifts of money are given to bring more good luck.

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Chinese New Year Food Meanings

Families like to play mah-jong games and eat plenty of food. Tables laden with food signify abundance and wealth in a household. Typical foods eaten during the Chinese New Year include Jiaozi Dumplings. These dumplings are made from dough and then filled with meat and vegetables prior to boiling. They signify a good wish for the family. Niangao are also traditionally eaten. Niangao has four meanings which are sticky, year, cake and high and symbolise the raising of oneself higher for the forthcoming year. Candied lotus seeds are eaten for good luck whilst candied melon is eaten for health and physical growth.

In some areas of China, particularly in the South, a modern tradition is for families to go shopping over the New Year and some shops will open early for shoppers.

Lantern Festival

The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days. The last day of the celebrations is known as The Lantern Festival. On the last night there is singing, dancing and lantern displays and parades for the children.

Read about the Chinese New Year Birth Signs And Their Meanings.

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