Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Celebrations of the Chinese New Year traditionally run from the eve to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month, making it one of the longest celebrated festivals. The first day of the New Year falls on some day between 21 January and 20 February.
The Chinese Lunar Year is centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour deities as well as ancestors. Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, including Mainland China , Hong Kong , Macau , Taiwan , Singapore , Thailand , Cambodia , Indonesia , Malaysia , Mauritius , and the Philippines . 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. Nowadays Chinese have large communities in many other parts of the World and their celebrations become global. 2014 Special decorations were organized in honor Chinese communities’ spring Festival celebrations in Dubai, UK, USA, France and many other countries.
Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. The traditions in Northern part China is different from the celebrations in South. The food they prepare, the order of the events they celebrate may vary. Since I have been leaving in Nanjing fro the last three years I will speak about the traditions I saw and my friends used to have during that Festival.
Chinese Festival Eve and Decorations
Often, the evening preceding Chinese New Year’s Day is an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner . It worth admiring how millions of people move from cities they work to the cities and villages they were born. The idea of Family Reunion is very important: this is very different from the western countries where the comfortable city life will not move the citizens to any other place.
Another tradition which is very close to many countries including Armenia, Russia, Georgia and many other western or post Soviet Union countries is the
traditional for every family to thoroughly clean the house, in order to sweepay any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck.
For those special day windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness” , “wealth”, and “longevity.” Red color has special meaning for China, It symbolizes healthiness, luck, protection. Besides it helps to protect family members and house from the so called evil dragon (guonian) which is the previous year’s bad luck and sickness, which would like to skip and pass to the new year, but he is afraid of red color , so people would decorate the house and doors and the yards as well as would prefer to wear red clothes. If one of the members of the family died they will change the color of red decorations to ash grey for two years, and then change again for red.
The firecrackers are used to frighten the evil too. Two years ago the usage of the firecrackers was extremely large: all streets and parks, yards and streets were full of fire, crowd and loud bombings of those. Fortunately, this year it was prohibited and the nigh was very quite and calm.
Food and Gifts
On the very day people as in many other countries want to have tables full of food, to have better and reach life the next year. In Nanjing people together with other dishes also put fish, but don’t eat it and leave it fro the next day, so as to have something to eat fro the new year. It is also a tradition to make dumplings together. This is supposed to be the traditional food for the festival. The dumplings are made by all members of the Family.
Giving money in red paper envelopes is also very popular. It is called Hogbao. Usually grandparents would give money to their grandchildren, or to new married couples.
Nanjingers tell that in old times they used to go to their extended family members’ houses to celebrate with them. But now they prefer to stay at home and meet with the very close relatives and friends. The very interesting activity of the lanterns is in Confucius Temple surrounding park and the river where people will buy some presents and some street food. In evening they will light the lanterns and leave them full of hopes and wishes to come true. It is a very beautiful day.
There is another traditional food people make in Nanjing on the fourth day of the festival: These are the rise flower balls with various fillings like sesame.
Overall, The Spring festival is the most massive one among other festivals as it is celebrated for 15 days.
During this festival Chinese like to travel so nearly all places of tourists attraction are crowded. Many shops and restaurants attract clients with discounts and salesOverall t is a very interesting festival and make Chinese people and their traditions unique.