One of the most highly anticipated festivals for the Chinese has to be the annual Chinese New Year. Based on the lunar calendar, the festival falls on the first day of the first month which is unlike the international New Year, and it differs every year.
Chinese New Year is the time when families get together, and for foreigners who make use of this holiday to travel back to their hometown for a family reunion. An important aspect of this festivity is also its traditions which have been kept for many generations.
If you have always been curious about the significance of spring cleaning and why are we told by our parents to stay up past midnight on the Eve of Chinese New Year, let us share with you 7 Chinese New Year Traditions And Their Significance.
Sorry to burst your bubble but everyone should know how much calories you are taking in every time you pop a pineapple tart into your mouth. Here’s a list of Calories in Popular Chinese New Year Snacks.
Before the Chinese New Year festivities begin, Chinese households usually make it a point to spring clean the entire house thoroughly. Besides making the house clean for guests to visit, it is also a way of “sweeping away bad luck”.
NEW YEAR’S EVE REUNION DINNER
Traditionally, reunion dinner falls on New Year’s Eve and it is considered to be one of the most important dinners for Chinese families. Family members who live apart after marriage make the most of this festival to spend time with their loved ones.
For families who are large in size, it can take weeks of planning as tables fill up fast at popular restaurants. Even those who are having their reunion dinner at home have to spare much effort in grocery shopping and preparation of the dishes.
STAYING UP PAST MIDNIGHT
Parents usually urge their children to stay up until midnight after the reunion dinner to send away the old year and welcome the new. It is believed that the longer the children stay awake at night, the longer their parents will live in return.
While most people think that fireworks are just showstoppers for entertainment, there is actually meaning behind it. Fireworks were first introduced into the festival in China to drive away evil spirits.
It has been said that a mystical beast called Nian ate livestock on the eve of Chinese New Year. In order to chase it away, the people lit firecrackers in hopes that the machine gun-like sound from the firecrackers would scare it away.
Dumplings are a significance of good fortune and wealth as it resembles ingots, an ancient currency used by the Chinese during the old times. Hence, the more dumplings you eat, the more wealth you will accumulate for yourself!
Different stuffings in the dumplings have their own significance as well. The cabbage stuffing represents a well-off life for many years; having the mushroom stuffing supposedly increases your luck; beef stuffing is popular among stock investors as it symbolises strong economic growth and celery stuffing gives you wealth.
Red packets are a channel for sending good wishes and luck and it is given to bring happiness and blessing to those who are receiving it. It is considered rude to open your red packet in front of the giver.
CHINESE NEW YEAR SNACKS
Of course, Chinese New Year is not the same without its calories loaded snacks we all love and enjoy. Surely, you will find the same kind of snacks in almost all the households you visit and that is not of random occurrence.
Each snack has its own symbolic meaning which brings about well wishes for the upcoming year. If you are planning to host relatives and friends for this Chinese New Year, it is important to keep in mind the snacks you have to prepare!
Author: JULEE OOI
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