New Year in China is celebrated with lots of fun, feast and festivity. It is the time of the year when people leave their work and head for their home to celebrate with near and dear ones. But in the midst of celebrations and merriment lies a series of colorful and vivid traditions. So, let's peep into the exotic legends and myths associated with the celebrations of New Year in China .
First of January is easy to remember. But is it simple to remember the date of Chinese New Year? There is no fixed date for Chinese New Year as it is celebrated in accordance with the combination of solar and lunar movements. New Year in China is a hub of activity and celebration.
People in China consider New Year as everyone's birthday, a day viewed as the art of living blissfully. New Year in China marks the day where everyone becomes a year older and step into a new life of hope, health, prosperity and happiness.
Traditionally, the celebrations for the Chinese New Year last up to fifteen days. During these days, the Chinese wish each other by saying “Kung Hei Fat Choy” which means having a great fortune, or “Kung Hall Sun Hei”, which implies happy New Year.
To commemorate the beginning of a new life, people in China participate in many traditional New Year activities. New Year in China is also about ringing in the new and saying goodbye to the past
And this aspect of newness is aptly reflected in the Chinese New Year activities that include cleaning the houses from top to bottom, purchasing new clothes, paying off debts, painting their doors and window panes, and even getting new haircuts. These ancient activities related to the New Year's celebrations in China symbolize new life and new hopes.
Chinese people believe that staying awake all night on New Year's Eve would make their aged parents to live a longer and healthier life. Thus a common activity followed on the eve of Chinese New Year is to keep the lights glowing the entire night.
It is also seen as a pretext to make the most of the family reunion. Some families in China even hold religious ceremonies after midnight to usher in the God of the New Year into their homes. It is customary to conclude the ceremonies with a huge barrage of firecrackers to scare away the evil.
Chinese people give a lot of importance to their family and Chinese New Year is the time of family reunion. A family feast is held where the folks of the family gather and acknowledge the spirits of their forefathers. Traditionally dinner is usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, symbolizing prosperity and good wishes. Chinese New Year delicacies include prawns for liveliness and pleasure, dried oysters for all things good in life, raw fish salad to usher in good luck and prosperity, dumplings boiled in water signifying a long-lost good wish for a family and Fai-hai (Angel Hair), edible hair - like seaweed to bring prosperity to the family.
One of the popular activities on Chinese New Year is observing the custom of Hong Bao. This involves gifting small red envelopes filled with “lucky money”. These envelopes are given to children and unmarried adults by the married couples. The red color is considered to bring good fortune and the money is used by buy holiday treats.
People in China love excitement and merriment and New Year gives them an opportunity to do so. Chinese New Year is characterized by street celebrations, which include the performance of lion dance and dragon dance with exploding sound of firecrackers. The loud noise made by the firecrackers signifies the getting rid of sadness or bad events of last year and ushering in a good and prosperous coming year.