The end of January is fast approaching, but the New Year festivities are far from over. Beginning on January 28th, the Chinese New Year traditions begin to celebrate the Year of the Rooster!
According to Chinese traditions, those born under the year of the Rooster are hardworking, loyal, and intelligent! They also tend to be talkative and talented individuals who enjoy the spotlight. Below, we’ll direct this spotlight over to some of the many traditions that occur before and during the New Year.
As people make their way home to celebrate with family, others work on cleaning their homes from top to bottom before the New Year can arrive. Then all of the cleaning equipment is hidden away due to the belief that good fortune may be swept away if any cleaning takes place on New Year’s Day.
New Year's Eve Dinner
Food, as it is for many different celebrations all over the world, plays an important role in the festivities, starting with this important meal. Usually, this dinner doubles as a reunion dinner, bringing extended family together under a single roof. While a wide range of dishes will be served, no New Year’s Eve Dinner is complete without fish and dumplings, both of which represent prosperity.
According to legend, the Chinese New Year originated from a battle against the Nian. This mythical beast would attack local villages on the first day of the new year and eat children, livestock, and crops. They believed, however, that the Nian was afraid of the color red and firecrackers, so they hung red lanterns and set off firecrackers to keep the beast away. Nowadays, firecrackers are used to send out the old year and welcome in the new. The louder the firecrackers, the luckier the coming year will be.
The color red denotes good luck/fortune and happiness/abundance in the Chinese Culture and is often worn or used for decoration in other celebrations. During Chinese New Year, adults give red envelopes to children or unmarried adults without jobs. The red packet is believed to suppress evil from the children, keeping them healthy, and giving them a long life.
Welcoming the God of Wealth and Prosperity: Day 5
Called Po Woo or Po Wu, the fifth day of the Chinese New Year is celebrated as the birthday of the God of Wealth. Businesses begin to resume their day-to-day operations with many enjoying a Dancing Dragons performance in front of the office building to improve the prosperity and good fortune of their business. For those who do not have work, it is considered wise to spend as much of the day as possible at home in case the God of Wealth pays a visit.
Lantern Festival: Day 15
The final day of the New Year comes to a close with the Lantern Festival. This tradition began in the Han Dynasty (25-220) and has since evolved alongside the diverse cultures across China. The most prevalent customs include lighting lanterns – whether floating, fixed, held, or flying – and eating tangyuan or yuanxiao (a rice ball stuffed with different fillings). Whereas the former represents people letting go of their past selves, the latter symbolizes wholeness and togetherness, as well as the people’s best wishes for their family and their future lives.
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