The Chinese New Year, a.k.a Spring Festival begins on Feb. 10 this year and ends with the Lantern Festival on Feb 15. The Chinese population in any Asian country (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Mauritius, Korea, etc.), as well as those in countries where Chinatowns exist are expected to celebrate this festival. It marks the beginning of the lunar new year. This year is the year of the Snake.
·New Year Cleaning
Days before the New Year begins, most household will do spring-clean of their house. Sweeping on New Year’s Day itself is not recommended as it is said to sweep away the year’s good fortune. Breaking dishes or using sharp objects is also seen as potentially unlucky.
Family Reunion Dinner
OnNew Year Eve, all family members will return home for a grand reunion dinner.Foods in the typical menu are chosen for their auspicious meanings, such as fish for richness and glutinous rice cakes (Nian Gao) for better life. Usually the fish is intentionally not finished, and the remaining is stored overnight. It comes from a Chinese pun “Nian Nian You Yu”, where the pronounciation of fish (Yu) is the same as leftover/surplus, thus giving a message of “having profit every year”.
·The Character Fu
The Character Fu, literally meaning luck, auspiciousness, happiness or blessing, is a must in Spring Festival decorations. It can be found on a poster, on a red envelope, as a paper-cutting work, on a Chinese knot, and in many other New Year decorations for the festival.
An interesting fact is that the Character Fu is usually displayed upside-down. That’s because in Chinese, the words for “upside-down” and “to arrive” sound similar. Therefore, pasting the Character Fu upside-down on a door indicates “Good luck arrives”.
·New Year Couplets
New Year Couplets are an essential part of Spring Festival decorations. New Year Couplets are written in black ink on two vertical strips of red paper which is then pasted each on one side of a door. The first (or upper) line is on the right side while the second (lower) line is on the left. A third horizontal piece is pasted on the door frame.
Typically the New Year Couplets present a happy and hopeful message and sincere wish for a better New Year.
Ancestral worship and God worship are important parts of festivals for paying respects to ancestors or fairies, and wishing for a smooth and harvest year.
·Red Envelope or Red Packet
Red Envelope or Red Packet is a monetary gift (lucky money packed in a red envelope) presented at social and family gatherings such as weddings or on holidays such as the Lunar New Year. It symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. It is also named as Ya Sui Qian, meaning money to guard against evil and bless with happiness.
Traditionally the lucky money is in even number (especially in a number with auspicious meanings). For example, 88 is a lucky number for the pronounciation of eight is similar to the words for getting rich.
Previous year celebrations