How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is the most significant festival among all holidays and festivals in Chinese culture. In the Chinese lunar calendar, the festival lasts for fifteen days. This calendar starts between January 21 and February according to the Western calendar and changes between the years. If you are looking to participate in the celebrations, here is how to go about it.
1. Clean Your House
The Chinese believe that you will keep the accumulated bad luck away if you clean your house at this time of the year. If you clean your house, you will be preparing it for good luck to return to your home. You should also keep hygienic and fresh, including a haircut. But be sure not to clean your home after the New Year starts since you will be sweeping away the good luck that you have obtained. Ensure you don’t wash your house within the first two weeks of the New Year.
2. Use Red Decorations
In Chinese culture, red is the symbol or color of good luck and is usually utilized in New Year decorations. You can also use number eight, which means wealth and good luck. Paste paper cutouts on the window to elaborate scenes from Chinese mythology or rural life. Put them up on north and south facing windows. You can also decorate with Chinese New Year artwork and paintings. According to the Chinese tradition, these displays contain images of bounty and health, including fruits and animals. Include an image of a door god on your door to bless your house and fight the evil spirits. Additionally, you can decorate with couplets. Purchase red paper printed with Chinese calligraphy or write spring-themed couplets. Moreover, remember to put up paper lanterns. They are usually made from red paper and are one of the most popular decorations during the Chinese New Year. Don’t forget to paint your window panes, door, and doorframe red to change the pace.
3. Dress Appropriately
In case you have traditional Chinese clothes, this is the ideal time for wearing them. You can also purchase outfits in Chinatown, such as stunning silk clothing. Go for clothes with red color, which is associated with joy, good luck, good fortune, wealth, and happiness. Gold is also a perfect color to wear and can be combined with red. Keep away from black clothes since the color symbolizes death and bad luck.
4. Go to a Chinese Temple
Chinese celebrators usually visit temples to pray for fortune and good luck during the celebration period of the New Year. In the temples, they burn incense sticks before having their fortunes told. A majority of the temples welcome all participants, including those who are not Chinese. You can get the fortune stick tube close to the temple’s entrance. Pose a question and shake the tube to drop a numbered stick. It will be interpreted by one of the fortune tellers.
5. Set Off Firecrackers
Set off fireworks when the New Year starts at midnight. The firecrackers utilized in Hong Kong and China are banging and loud fireworks that are usually lit on the ground. The loud noises are believed to chase the bad spirits away and prevent them from causing bad luck. Numerous people continuously set off fireworks for the full fifteen days while others do so for the initial four to eight days prior to returning to work. Expect plenty of excitement and noise if you reside in a Chinese community. However, personal fireworks are prohibited in some nations and regions. But you can watch an official display of fireworks.
6. Discover Chinese Food and Cooking Traditions
The major feast is normally held on the eve of the New Year before the beginning of the holiday at midnight. There are multiple traditional dishes, but some foods have unique symbolism. Longevity is symbolized by daikon, a Chinese radish, and Jiu, an ancient hard liquor. While rice means harmony, red chilies symbolize good luck. Chicken and other small animals are served whole and sliced at the table to show prosperity and unity.
Whether you are Chinese or not, these six tips will help you participate in this critical festival of the Chinese tradition. Prepare the house, dress appropriately, follow food traditions and more.