How Spring Festival is celebrated and hide the broom on Day One

Xinhua
The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, is China's most important festival and has become an occasion to celebrate Chinese culture across the globe.
Xinhua
Xinhua

A worker prepares niangao (rice cakes) on February 12, 2018, in Wuxi City, east China’s Jiangsu Province, before the Chinese Lunar New Year, which begins on February 16, 2018 this year. It is a tradition to eat niangao in south China to celebrate the new year, while people in the north usually prefer to eat dumplings instead.

The Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, is China’s most important festival and has become an occasion to celebrate Chinese culture across the globe.

In general, celebrations for the Spring Festival start from the Lunar New Year’s Eve to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, featuring family reunions, feasts, and various cultural activities.

On different days, Chinese people have different customs.

On New Year’s Eve, the biggest event is the annual family reunion dinner. In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings with family members to eat around midnight. In the south, however, people like to make niangao, or rice cake, and send some to relatives and friends as gifts.

Another tradition is to stay up on New Year’s Eve, known as shousui, which is thought to boost longevity. Since 1982, watching the New Year Gala on national TV has become another key activity.

The first day of the New Year is the time to welcome the deities of heavens and earth, traditionally by lighting fireworks at midnight. Besides, it is a taboo to use a broom on that day, since this will sweep away good fortune.

The first day also features giving and receiving red envelopes with cash inside, known as hongbao, which are thought to bring good luck, health and wealth. But only when children and teenagers of a family express their good wishes to the seniors, will they be given a red envelope in return.

On the second day, married daughters should visit their parents, relatives and close friends. This tradition stems from the fact that married women had few opportunities to visit their birth parents in old times.

On the third day, people are supposed to stay home and have a good rest given the hustle and bustle on the previous two days. And it is regarded unlucky to receive guests or go visiting on the day in some parts of China.

In addition to the customs on specific days, there are also other interesting cultural symbols related to the festival.

One of them concerns Spring Festival couplets. The couplets — poetry celebrating the new year based on certain writing rules — are usually pasted to both sides of doors before New Year’s Eve.

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