Traditional Celebration Chinese New Year
Of all the traditional Chinese festivals, the New Year is the most elaborate, colorful, and important. This is a time for Chinese to congratulate each other and themselves on having passed through another year, a time to finish out the old, and to welcome in the New Year. Common expressions heard at this time are:Â GUONIANÂ to have made it through the old year, andÂ BAINIANÂ to congratulate the New Year.
Turning Over a New LeafÂ
The Chinese New year is celebrated on the first day of the First Moon of theÂ lunar calendar. The corresponding date in the solar calendar varies from as early as January 21st to as late as February 19th. ...view middle of the document...
He was identified as the inventor of fire, which was necessary for cooking and was also the censor of household morals. By tradition, the Kitchen God left the house on the 23rd of the last month to report to heaven on the behavior of the family. At this time, the family did everything possible to obtain a favorable report from the Kitchen God. On the evening of the 23rd, the family would give the Kitchen God a ritualistic farewell dinner with sweet foods and honey. Some said this was a bribe, others said it sealed his mouth from saying bad things.
Free from the every-watchful eyes of theÂ Kitchen God, who was supposed to return on the first day of the New Year, the family now prepared for the upcoming celebrations. In old China, stores were closed on the last two or three days of the year and remained closed for the first week of the New Year. Consequently, families were busy in the last week of the old year stocking up on foods and gifts. Chinese New Year presents are similar in spirit to Christmas presents, although the Chinese tends to give food items, such as fruits and tea. The last days of the old year is also the time to settle accumulated debts.
On the last day of the old year, everyone was busy either in preparing food for the next two days, or in going to the barbers and getting tidied up for the New Yearâ€™s Day. Tradition stipulated that all food should be pre-pared before the New Yearâ€™s Day, so that all sharp instruments, such as knives and scissors, could be put away to avoid cutting the "luck" of the New Year. The kitchen and well were not to be disturbed on the first day of the Year.
The New Yearâ€™s Eve and New Yearâ€™s Day celebrations were strictly family affairs. All members of the family would gather for the important family meal on the evening of the New Yearâ€™s Eve. Even if a family member could not attend, an empty seat would be kept to symbolize that personâ€™s presence at the banquet. At midnight following the banquet, the younger members of the family would bow and pay their respects to their parents and elders.
On New Yearâ€™s Day, the children were given RedÂ Lai-See Envelopes, good luck money inside the little red envelopes. On New Yearâ€™s Day, everyone had new clothes and would be his best behavior. It was considered improper to tell a lie, raise oneâ€™s voice, use indecent language, or break anything on the first day of the year.
Starting from the second day, people began going out to visit friends and relatives, taking with them gifts and Lai-See for the children. Visitors would be greeted with traditional New Year delicacies, such as melon seeds,Â flowers,Â fruits,Â tray of togetherness and NIANGAO, New Year cakes.
The entire first week was a time for socializing and amusement. On the streets, the stores were closed and an air of gaiety prevailed. There were numerous lion dances, acrobats, theatrical shows, and other diversions....