Celebration for Chinese New Year consist of a series of social, media and family tradition. There are certain food, practices and religious activities that people practise in order to ensure they can best prepare themselves and their families for the coming year.
The Chinese New Year celebration traditionally consist of 13 days in total. Although due to today's busy schedule Chinese New Years have been shorten to 5 days, however, it does vary in different countries.
The mythology/tale believed to start Chinese New Year is the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian (Chinese: 年 aka. year). Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian.
Today, the colour red continues to symbolize good luck and wealth in Chinese culture. People hang red papers writing good wishes in Chinese calligraphy on their door. Use fire crackers and perform dragon dance (symbolize the nian beast) Making lots of noises.
Family Traditions/ Practice
- Red Pocket Money – adults will put money inside a red envelope to give to children. It symbolizes good wishes and luck pass from elders to the younger generations. Does not have to be for their own children as long as they are of younger generation.
- Friendly Gambling – This can be Mahjong, big two card game or throwing dice (parents will sometimes let their children gamble a small amount of their red pocket money to test their luck for the coming year – under their supervision of course)
- Saying good wishes to elders – children are expected to know many good wishes phrases to say to the elders or others. And they often hold their fist and shake them in front of their chest to say them
- Wearing new clothes – This is suppose to symbolize out with the old and in with the new.
- Feast – families always prepare for big meals during this time. Tones of dishes and unlimited supply of food. Never cook enough to finish always have left over.
- Visiting distant family members – going to grandparents or distant relatives' houses to visit.
- Visiting temples – People will visit temples to ask the gods to give them good wishes and luck for the coming year
- Vacation – A lot of people will take family vacation during the new years as well
Food (certain food are consumed for new years)
- Fish – so you can have left over savings every year
- Red Bean – Fertility – have children
- Egg Roll – Finding a Boyfriend
- Orange – Good luck and Good wealth
- Smoke Meat – Good luck
- Rice Cake – year cake
- Pineapple cake – good luck
- Pineapple – wealth to come
- Raddish or Raddish cake – grow old well – good progress
- Dumplings – look like gold plates – wealth
- Rice balls soup – fertility – have children
There are probably more
Media – TV will have special programs dedicated t0 New Year