Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and begins on the first day of the lunar calendar, so it is also called Lunar New Year, and it is considered the beginning of spring, so it is also called Spring Festival. In ancient China, the spring festival started since “lichun” for the reason that spring season in Chinese calendar starts with lichun, the first solar term in a Chinese calendar year. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western Carnival.
Since 1913, Chinese national government determined the festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Chinese New Year’s Eve is known as Chuxi which is a day when Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, literally “remove evening” or “Eve of the Passing Year”. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year” and Agriculture Calendar’s New Year.
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Chinese New Year is celebrated in China and in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Mauritius, Philippines, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar New Year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.
Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. As for clothing, Chinese people like buying Tang Suit, Qipao or red underwear. In terms of food, dumplings, Yuanxiao, Laba Zhou and Tray of Togetherness are necessary for Chinese New Year. What’s more, a hair cut before New Year’s is a must as cutting anything during Chinese New Year is considered bad luck. By the way, Chinese people like going to the fortune teller to learn their fortune for the year ahead. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
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