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Traditional Practices of Chinese New Year Celebrations - Blog Post

Courtesy – http://hellokids.com

 

Chinese New Year signifies the first day of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. This is why it is also known as Lunar New Year. It is the most important festival for the Chinese people and on its eve, families organise their annual reunion dinner. There are various customs being followed since its origin. A popular tradition is that the married couples pass red envelopes or red packets to the unmarried and children. The packet contains money and the amount of money in the packets should be even numbers as it is considered lucky.

During the ancient times in China, bamboo stems filled with gunpowder were made to create explosions that would drive away the evil spirits. This has now turned into the tradition of bursting fireworks during the festival. Burning of firecrackers signifies joy and thus it has become an important part of the Chinese New Year Celebrations. Firecrackers are generally hanged with a long string. Each of them is rolled up in red paper as red colour is considered to be auspicious. Apart from the illumination, the firecrackers are also known for their deafening sounds that are believed to scare the evil spirits away. Generally cheap fireworks are very noisy and let out more smoke comparatively.

As the New Year approaches, open air markets and village fairs are set up. You can find clothing, toys, flowers and fireworks for sale. This makes it convenient for people to buy decorations for their homes and to buy gifts for family and friends.

Apart from the red envelopes, there are small gifts those are exchanged between relatives and friends. Cakes, fruits like oranges, candies, biscuits, chocolates or other small gifts are very common gift items. These gifts are given while visiting friends or relatives’ homes. Clothes of red and bright colours are worn throughout the Chinese New Year. Red is believed to scare the evil spirits away and even the bad fortune. People wear new clothes from head to toe that signifies the beginning of a New Year. A ceremony of taking a family portrait after the relatives gathered is followed religiously.

Lion dances and dragon dances are very commonly seen on the streets during the New Year celebrations. There are various kinds of flowers symbolising different things are used in the decorations. A red diamond shape ‘fu’ character is seen hanging upside down at the entrances of almost every house. This sign signifies happiness good luck and prosperity throughout the year.

Maria Ereku

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