Our Guide to the Chinese New Year Celebration - Prime Women | An Online Magazine

Our Guide to the Chinese New Year Celebration

Chinese New Year Celebration

Here we are, fresh into the Year of the Pig, having just passed the Chinese New Year celebration!

In the Chinese zodiac, there are 12 animals used to represent the years, and 2019 is known as the year of the pig. The Chinese zodiac plays an important role in Chinese culture and is used to predict your fortune for the year from future marriage, to fit for a career, to the best times to start a family.

Chinese zodiac signs

The 12 Animals that represent the Chinese Zodiac symbols.

If you’d like to know which animal your birth date represents, there are many online tools.

When is the Chinese New Year Celebration?

Chinese New Year’s is a 23-day celebration that starts with the Little Year which involves preparation for the festivities and begins on January 28th lasting until New Year’s Eve on February 4th. With the Spring Festival starting on February 5th, the New Year’s festivities are in full swing and last until the conclusion of the celebration on February 19th. The last day of the celebration is marked by the Lantern Festival which is the climax of the event and includes lighting lanterns, lion dances, and enjoying a festival favorite sticky rice balls.

Mass Sky Lantern Release

People release sky lanterns to pay homage to the triple gem: Budhha, Dharma and Sangha during Yi Peng festival.

How to Dress for the Occasion

The New Year’s event is a time of change and new beginnings with a focus of shedding off the old and bringing in the new. So when donning your duds for the events, it is important to dress in new clothing which is a way to show your start into your new fortune as well as help to ward off evil spirits in the upcoming year.

The ability to wear new clothes during the holiday is considered a splurge for those who have scrimped and saved throughout the year. While buying yourself new clothes to wear to the celebrations is perfectly acceptable, the new clothes are often given by the family as a gift and a wish for a fresh start that the New Year can bring.

Lantern Festival in the Chinese New Year( Pig year), night view of colorful lanterns and crowded people walking in Yuyuan Garden.

Shanghai, China – Jan. 26, 2019: Lantern Festival in the Chinese New Year( Pig year), night view of colorful lanterns and crowded people walking in Yuyuan Garden.

Chinese New Year Taboos You Want to Avoid

While the Spring Festival is a time to celebrate and welcome the New Year, it is also filled with superstitions, and there are many taboos that you will want to avoid during this time to ensure that you receive good fortune and happiness.

  • Avoid making negative comments – All negative words are forbidden during the celebration. This can include words such as death, sickness, killing, or anything else that evokes negative feelings. Speaking negatively can bring misfortune in the upcoming year.
  • Refrain from breaking glass or ceramic items – Breaking things can mean a broken fortune or prosperity in the future. If you accidentally do break something, carefully wrap the pieces in a red paper while asking for peace and security. After the celebration has concluded, you will need to throw the wrapped pieces in a body of water.
  • Avoid sweeping, and cleaning in general – While it may seem like a good excuse to take a break from your daily chores, you actually want to avoid sweeping and cleaning to that you don’t sweep away or remove any of the good luck you have been given for the New Year. For the same reason, you should also avoid taking a shower on New Year’s Day.
  • Refrain from using sharp objects – Sharp objects can cut the stream to wealth and success. Having your haircut is forbidden during this time as well.
  • Don’t make visits to your wife’s family – Under marriage tradition, a bride will move into the groom’s home and enjoy the New Year’s celebration with their in-laws. If a bride were to visit her family on New Year’s Day, it would be a signal that the marriage was in trouble and could bring bad luck to the whole family.
  • Do not make debt repayment demands – The New Year’s holiday is a time for everyone to enjoy and celebrate, even for those who owe you a debt. If you were to demand payment on New Year’s you could bring bad luck to both the debtor and yourself.
  • Avoid fights and refrain from crying – During the New Year celebration, all issues should be resolved in a peaceful matter. Avoiding crying and fighting can give you a smooth path going into the New Year.
  • Don’t take medicine or visit the doctor – Doing so during the Spring Festival can put you at risk of enduring sickness in the upcoming year.
  • Do not give the New Year’s blessing when someone is in their bed – While you will want to give people the New Year’s blessing, it is essential to wait for them to get out of bed before giving it. Otherwise, it could provide them with bad luck that keeps them bedridden all year.
  • Avoid tabooed gifts – While gift giving is an important part of the Chinese culture, some gifts are forbidden during this time of year. For example, avoid giving clocks.

Red Pockets

CNY Red Pockets Red pockets are a popular form of gift-giving during the Chinese New Year to wish children peace and prosperity in the upcoming year. The origin behind the red pockets is a Chinese legend that claimed that an evil spirit called Sui would pat children on the head three times, causing fevers and changing their lives forever. The legend goes on to state that parents had tried entertaining their child with some coins which they placed on red paper by their pillow when they fell asleep. As Sui came to touch them, they were frightened away by the coins, and the child was safe. This began the tradition of parents giving their children coins wrapped in red paper on New Year’s.

Should You Give Red Pockets for the New Year?

In modern times, there are two types of red pockets used in celebration of the Spring Festival. Adults who are middle-aged are expected to give red pockets to both their children and their parents or elders. While the tradition was originally started between both family and close friends, it is now common practice to give red pockets to almost anyone. Sometimes they are exchanged between those who are acquaintances to be polite, as a fun way to celebrate between friends, and even exchanged by co-workers and management as a way to socially network.

How to Traditionally Receive a Red Pocket

When given a red pocket during a New Year’s visit there are some traditions that should accompany it. If grandparents are present, they should sit at the back of the room, and all children and grandchildren will perform three kowtows as a sign of respect to their elders. To perform a kowtow, you will need to kneel and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Then bend over, resting your head between your hands. After this sign of respect has been presented, the children will receive their red pockets.

Whether you plan to take advantage of all of the traditions of the Chinese New Year, or just want to participate in the festivities, using the guide above can help you become a part of the celebration. Make sure to avoid the taboos and prepare yourself to receive the blessing and prosperity that a new year can bring to make the year of the pig one that you will remember always.

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