Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name.
Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. It falls on February 19th in 2015.
5 Traditions to be followed during Chinese Spring Festival:
No.1 “Săo chén” – Sweep the dust
In Mandarin, “chén”(dust) and “chén”(old) share the same pronunciation. Sweeping the dust during the Spring Festival has become an old custom, indicating “sweeping away the bad luck and welcoming the new beginning”.
No.2 “Shǒu suì” – Stay up all night on New Year’s Eve
Shǒu suì is the most important activity on Chinese New Year’s Eve when all the family members reunite together, have a superb dinner and stay up all night to greet the arrival of the Chinese New Year. Around the countdown moment, most families would set off firecrackers.
No.3 “Bài nián” – Make New Year greetings
During the whole festive period, Chinese people will visit the elders, relatives and friends. Before entering their houses, everybody shall make new year greetings, with the hands in gesture as above. The most common greetings are “Xīnnián Hăo” (Happy New Year), “Shēntǐ Jiànkāng” (In good health), “Wànshì Rúyì” (All the best)…
No.4 “Tiē Chūnlián” – Put up Spring Festival couplets on the doors
This tradition dates back to the Chinese ancient ritual. The couplets are considered as the protection against evil spirits and the invitation to auspicious gods to home.
No.5 “Hóngbāo/Yāsuìqián” – Red envelope/Lucky money
In ancient time, Chinese people thought that kids are easy to get disturbed by ghosts. Since “suì”(ghost) has the same spelling as “suì”(year). Therefore, when the younger make new year greetings to the elder during the spring festival, the elder shall put certain amount of “Yāsuìqián” in the “Hóngbāo” and gift to the younger so that they can have a safe and lucky new year.