Many Chinese New Year customs are widely observed for thousands of years and passed on from generations to generations from parents to children. From the family reunion dinner, eating dumplings, and setting off fireworks, here is a list of must-do customs for Chinese New Year.
1. Spring Cleaning
To ensure you have an auspicious start to the lunar new year, make sure every speck of dust is banished from your home. Chinese families usually do a Marie-Kondo by de-cluttering and throwing out unwanted, unused and unsightly material things. This is a time for organizing and keeping spaces clean and tidy.
2. CNY Shopping
A follow up to the spring cleaning process is the replacement of anything that looks old with a newer model, design or simply new things like furniture or appliance. Purchasing new items symbolizes welcoming new things and getting ready for a new start. Chinese New Year shopping also includes buying fresh food for the lunar new year period and goodies to feed and entertain visiting guests.
3. Spring Festival Couplets
Couplets are typically pasted on doorways as a part of the festival’s decoration.
4. Paste the “Fu” Character and Window Paper Cuts
These decorations carries people’s good wishes and auspicious sayings to usher in positive energies into the homes.
5. Chinese Knots
These knots are purely decorative in nature. They are usually used as hanging ornaments to create a festive air at home.
6. Door Gods or New Year Pictures
This is a dying tradition as it was commonly practiced by the grandmothers of our parents’ generation. These days we see very few of these pictures. The Gods of the Door are a common Taoism and ancient folk custom.They are usually images of the deified generals of the Tang Dynasty (618 -907) – Qin Qiong and Yuchi Gong and display as a pair on the doors to drive away the evil spirits, keep the house safe, and encourage the good fortune.
Later, New Year pictures with themes like women and babies, opera performance, and zodiac animal signs are included in the pictures.
7. Family Reunion Dinner
On the eve of Chinese New Year, no matter where they reside, immediate family members return home to have the reunion dinner. Traditional CNY dishes are prepared and served with auspicious connotations to the family.
8. Watching New Year’s Gala to ring in the Lunar New Year.
If you live in a country where there is a dominant Chinese television station, there will likely be a broadcast of the New Year’s Gala to the Chinese population.
9. Eating Dumplings
The shapes of the dumplings resembles the monetary ingots used in ancient times. It is a custom to eat dumplings on the New Year’s Eve, the 1st and the 5th day of the New Year.
10. Glutinous Rice Balls
are eaten only on the Lantern Festival when family members gather together and appreciate the first full moon of the Lunar Year.
11. Fireworks and River HongBao 2019
In Singapore, Chinese New Year is another opportunity to catch the fireworks. This year, the River Hong Bao celebrates the Bicentennial edition on 3rd to 10th February at The Float@Marina Bay.
12. Send Greeting Messages –
n the past, people sent New Year cards to their friends, parents, and relatives during the happy event especially when they were not going to be with them on the festival. Words of blessing are written on the cards similar to Christmas cards in western countries. Now, with the advance of technology, the form of cards has changed, while the custom of sending cards continues, with both paper cards and digital ones.
13. Red Packets
Customary given to little children by the elderly or married adults. The red packets are also known as lucky money as it believed that they will keep the children safe and sound for the whole year.
14. Wear New Clothes
Generally, Chinese families like to wear new clothes with bright colors or designs to mark this auspicious day. Some even have new shoes to match their new outfits.
15. Home visits
The first stop is always the grandparents home or the matriarch or patriarch of the family. Thereafter, the visits can extend to the homes of extended family members and friends.
Have you completed any of the tasks on the above list?