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What we didn’t know about Chinese New Year traditions

by Athena Yap

MARK your calendar. See the fireworks in the sky. On January 22, all the Chinese will celebrate the New Year.

It is also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, the most significant among Chinese holidays.

Just like the traditional celebrations in China, Chinese New Year is infused with different beliefs and one of those is the fictitious Beast 年 “nian” or “nyen” as normally pronounced, who eats almost anything that could bring prosperity on New Year’s eve. 

Nian’s meaning in English is “year” but it is not exactly as it seems in terms of traditions. 

However, there are traditions that people usually follow to prevent the attack of “Nian” and here are some of them according to the Culture Trip site which helps China tourists to know the culture of China.

Display decorations

Just like the other traditions in other cultures, people decorate their surroundings especially their house whenever holiday is coming.

In Chinese culture, decorating the house with red ornaments and a display that is necessary for the exact year zodiac sign is best to attract good energy and cancel the negative ones.

For this year, it’s good to display something with a Rabbit design because it is the zodiac being celebrated.

Some examples of New Year display to bring luck to the year are: 

  • Chinese red lanterns
  • Door couplets
  • Red paper cuttings
  • New Year paintings
  • Upside-down Fu (福) 
  • Blooming Flowers

Cleaning the house

What’s a better year to start than having an organized surrounding?

In the Lunar Calendar, January 22 is considered January 1, 2023. So this is when some Fil-Chi people begin to systemize or arrange all the things accordingly. 

Indeed, it is very refreshing to start the year when everything around is organized. It is also believed that cleaning your surroundings symbolizes sweeping away all the negative energies or the bad luck and making the home ready to receive good luck.

Visiting and offering sacrifices to Ancestors

In Chinese culture, it is important to honor the late family members and it has been a strict tradition to follow it before the Chinese New Year’s day. They usually offer the favorite foods of their ancestors before the reunion dinner to show that they are letting the ancestors eat first.

Moreso, when having dinner, there would be an extra glass placed at the dinner table for them on the New Year’s eve.

Exchanging red envelopes

Well, this is probably the favorite part of many people.

It is a gift usually given in important events such as New Years, birthdays, weddings and a way to send good wishes where money is inserted inside a red pocket of paper.

However, not many know that a money inside a red envelope (红包 – hongbao in Mandarin, lai see in Cantonese, and ang pow in Hokkien) true essence is not really the cash itself but wrapping the “lucky money” in red pocket paper is believed to bestow more prosperity on the receiver.

Making noises or setting firecrackers

Creating noises is believed to scare away all the evil or bad luck and welcome the New Year’s arrival. Some make noises by beating a drum or clapping objects together.

This year is going to celebrate water rabbits – people who were born in 1963.

Other years of the Rabbit include 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927



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