January 31 will ring in Chinese Year 4712. Chinese New Year is the most important of the Chinese festivals.
Many traditions and and rituals associated with the celebration of the Chinese New Year are observed not only by the Chinese but by other nationalities as well, from the Far East to America and Europe.
The Global Road Warrior database, a great source of information on countries and cultures, lists fascinating examples of traditions and superstitions associated with New Year celebrations. Learn about some traditions as you are getting ready to celebrate with your Chinese friends or enjoy a meal at a Chinese restaurant. For example, for tonight’s dinner consider dumplings (jiaozi), which symbolize wealth or fortune. Here are some more New Year’s Eve traditional dishes:
- prawns for long life and happiness
- oysters (ho xi) for good luck
- raw fish salad (yu sheng) for prosperity
Eating a whole fish symbolizes togetherness and abundance. Noodles should be eaten uncut to signify long life.
Did you know that the tradition of shooting off firecrackers at midnight to usher in new year originated in China? As you shoot your firecracker, make sure you have the doors and windows open to welcome new year – well, maybe for a few minutes, considering the temperatures we are having!
When you continue festivities on New Year’s Day, here are a few DON’Ts:
- Do not lend any money or spend too much, so as not to start the trend all year round
- To avoid washing away good luck, do not wash your hair
- Be careful who you meet or see first, as this will have a bearing on what the New Year will hold
- The first few words you hear during the New Year will also be affect the coming year.
This list could go longer, but lets’ focus on what you can and should do along with shooting firecrackers (and doing a dragon dance, of course):
- Eating candies or sweets to bring a sweet year ahead
- Stay awake all night on New Year’s Eve, to make your parents live longer and healthier.
But above all, have fun and stay safe! May the Year of the Horse move you closer to success.
Wish you luck in the Year of the Horse 马年大吉 (Mǎnián dàjí)
Learn more about China, its culture, and traditions from the research databases:
Posted by Olga Hart
Image source: Chinese New Year: 2014