The first day of the first lunar month is regarded as the New Year of the Chinese–the Spring Festival, which is the most important and ceremonious traditional festival in China. It is usually from first day of lunar January to fifth day of lunar January, lasting about 15 days. What Spring Festival to Chinese, Christmas Day to the westerners. Spring Festival, together with Tomb-sweeping Day, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-autumn Day, are referred as the four most important traditional festivals in China. The following is just focused on the traditions for Chinese Spring Festival.
Around December 24 in lunar Chinese calendar, Chinese people will do house-cleaning to welcome the approaching New Year. People usually clean appliances, curtain, yards, kitchen and the like. Each household is brimming with busy but joyous house-cleaning atmosphere.
Paste Spring Festival Couplets
During the Spring Festival of every year, all families in both urban and rural areas will paste the spring festival couplets on the door, expressing best wish to the new year. The couplet is composed of two parts, the first line and the second line. When posting the couplets, people should abide by the rules, that is, the first line on the right and the second line on the left.
Enjoy Family Reunion Dinner on New Year’s Eve
The night before the Spring Festival is traditionally called “New Year’s Eve”, on which each family would enjoy their family reunion dinner together. That’s why so many people working far away from home would back home for this great dinner. On the eve, all the family members sit together and enjoy the savory family reunion dinner together, talking and laughing together.
Give Gift Money to Children
During the Chinese Spring Festival, people will give gift money to children, which is usually called hong bao in Chinese. The gift money is usually wrapped in red paper. During the Spring Festival, when children send their best wishes to elder people, the elder are expected to give some gift money prepared before hand to the children, wishing them healthy and happy in the new year.
Stay up on the New Year’s Eve
Stay up on the New Year’s Eve is another important tradition during the Spring Festival. This tradition could be traced back to Western Jin dynasty in Chinese history. On the New Year’s Eve, people would invite some friends to gather together and stay up until the dawn together.
On the first day of the spring festival, people would get up early to pay new year calls to each other. The young usually pay new year call to the elders first, expressing their best wishes of health and longevity to them, then the elder would give the gift money (called hong bao in Chinese) prepared ahead to the young especially children, hoping them peaceful and healthy in the new year.
Exploding firecrackers is another must-have during Chinese spring festival, which enjoys a history of more than 2,000 years. During the Spring Festival, you could hear the firecracker explosion hither and thither, bringing much brisk atmosphere to the new year. Nowadays, apart from letting off firecrackers during the Spring Festival to welcome the New Year, people also explode them on other great occasions, such as weddings, opening ceremony and the like.
Watch the New Year’s Gala
The New Year’s Gala is a special large recreational show produced by China Central Television shown on Chinese New Year Eve to celebrate the coming new year. The show is a perfect combination of various acts, like drama, dance, music and comedy. On the Chinese New Year Eve, all the family members would sit together to watch this terrific gala together, immersing themselves in a peaceful, harmonious and joyous atmosphere.