Chinese Spring Festival is a traditional festival with a long history in China and it is the most important holiday for Chinese people. Thus, much attention is paid on it since the ancient time and its preparation starts seven days before the New Year’s Eve, from the twenty-third day of the twelfth lunar month.
I am sure you might be curious to know how Lunar New year is celebrated in China.
Find below the schedule for the interesting festivities and customs during the Spring Festival. The following dates are listed according to Chinese lunar calendar.
Chinese New Year 2018 Festivities :
In 2018, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Friday, February 16, 2018.
- In Chinese traditional culture, the Kitchen God will report to the Jade Emperor about the daily affairs of each family. Based on the report, the Jade Emperor will decide whether to reward this family or not. People will sacrifice candy, water, beans to the Kitchen God to flatter him, so that he can report good things about the family. As a result, the Jade Emperor may not punish the family, which can live safe and sound in the next year. It is on the New Year’s Eve that the Kitchen God will go back to the human’s world, so he will get a warm welcome from human beings. After that sacrificing, the ancestors will be worshiped by the whole family on this day and this sacrifice remains till Dec. 30.
- Cleaning is done on this day. All vessels, curtains, bedding and every corner need to be cleaned, and Chinese people hope to welcome the New Year in a clean environment. In Chinese, cleaning the dust means driving away the old things.
- In some places, bean curd will be made on this day. It is said that the Jade Emperor will come to inspect the human world to check whether the report from the Kitchen God is true or not, so people eat the cheap bean curd to show they live a poor life to show to the Jade Emperor that they are thrifty in order to testify that what the Kitchen God said is true. So they can avoid the punished from the Jade Emperor.
- In ancient China, most of the common people live a poor life and can only eat pork during Spring Festival. So on this day, butchering pigs feeding by every family or purchasing pork is the most basic activity; as a result, they can reserve the pork for the festival. Although modern people can eat meat in daily life, people still like to buy meat before the festival for store.
- Shopping is the most important activity on this day. People will purchase fireworks, couplets, toys and so on. They also buy some new clothes for the next year. In the folk custom, people will also have bathes and wash all the clothes in the hope of removing the bad luck in the previous year.
- Making steamed breads and pasting the paper-cuts are done on this day. People will make the food for days from the Spring Festival (Jan. 1 according to lunar calendar) to Lantern Festival, for in old times, nothing can be bought during Spring Festival. Meanwhile, people will decorate the rooms by pasting paper-cuts on the windows. Although now the supermarkets or shopping centers are still open and people can easily purchase anything during the holiday, it is still a habit for people to prepare various kinds of food before the festival, especially in the rural area.
- On this day, people will worship ancestors at their tombs.
- This is the most important and cheerful day. People will paste the couplets, Gods of Gates and New Year’s pictures. Even though, modern people seldom do these things in time order as ancient people, but they still keep the custom of pasting the couplets. When all couplets are pasted, the festive atmosphere will be filled in every corner in China. Reunion Dinner and staying up all night on New Year’s Eve are also traditional customs. Similar to the Christmas Dinner in western countries, the Reunion Dinner has significant meaning to Chinese people, because it is the time that all family members reunite together. With the reunion dinner, the whole family welcomes a new year happily. The most important food in this dinner is sure the dumpling. Niangao and rice dumplings are eaten by people in southern part of China.
- Setting off firecrackers to chase off the bad spirit is the first thing to do after people get up on the first day of the New Year. After the firecrackers, it is the time for the first meal which is as important as the reunion dinner for most Chinese people. Most people choose to eat dumplings in wish of making fortune in the future, because the shape of dumpling is similar to the gold ingots used as currency in ancient time. People in Fujian prefer to eat noodles, which is the symbol of being everlasting in local custom. The first day is also a time to pay a New Year’s visit as well as send blessing to the senior members of extended families and other relatives. Now the methods of sending blessing are changing and many modern methods are used such as messages, emails as well as phone calls to send blessing.
- People will worship the God of Wealth on this day. Besides, it is the time for married daughters to visit their birth parents and relatives, because they could not go back to their birth families in daily life in ancient China. Even though daughters now can go to visit their birth parents at any time, this custom remains.
- This day is also called Goat Day, on which people cannot kill the sheep or goats. In southern China, people think quarrels can easily happen, so they do not visit each other on this day.
- This day is also called Po Wu in Chinese, on which people will eat dumplings and set off firecrackers.
- In Chinese mythology mankind was created on this day, so this day is human beings’ birthday. On this day, people will use seven kinds of vegetables and rice to make porridge in celebrating their birthday.
- The fifteenth day of the lunar New Year/Lantern Festival is the end of the Spring Festival activities and all things are back to normal after that day. It is also the first full moon day after the grand festival. On this day, people will go to enjoy different shapes of lanterns and guess lantern riddles. Shehuo is another activity which can be seen in some areas in northern China and attracts many people to participate and enjoy. This costume parade includes different kinds of performance such as lion dance, yangko (a popular rural folk dance), land boat shows and so on. The parade was warmly welcomed by the local people.