Just like with most countries, China celebrates several different holidays throughout the year. One of which is the Chinese New Year. This holiday isn’t celebrated on January first and the date of it changes every year. The Chinese New Year is part of China’s traditional calendar and it coincides with the new moon. It marks the beginning of another year and brings with it a lot of traditions and celebrations that are celebrated not just by Chinese residents, but many individuals throughout the world who are interested in the Chinese culture. Many of these customs are practiced as a way to bring about luck and good fortune throughout the year. They are often unique and not commonly practiced as a way to prepare for other popular holidays. The following three unique customs are celebrated during the Chinese New Year.
1- Out with the Old and In with the New
Not many of us get ready for a holiday by getting rid of items. However, in order to bring in some good luck for the Chinese New Year it is important to get rid of any clutter that’s in the home. It’s not uncommon for individuals to go from room to room to canvas them for items that they no longer need. It doesn’t stop there as the household is also cleaned from top to bottom. Everything is scrubbed and even the smallest of trinkets are dusted. All of this purging of items and cleaning is a way to prepare for new items that are brought into the home. A lot of the time houses also get painted right before the Chinese New Year and new decor is bought and proudly displayed in various rooms. Chinese knots are often used as decorations. They are commonly hung around the home sometimes from the ceiling or even on the drapes. All of this cleaning and decorating is supposed to stop the the first day of the Chinese New Year. Sweeping especially is forbidden. To do so during the Chinese New Year signifies sweeping away any good fortune.
2- Pasting Paper-Cuts Around the Home
A beloved family tradition that takes place for the Chinese New Year involves paper-cuts. Each one is handcrafted out of red paper. Each piece is either cut into a unique design or adorned with encouraging words written on it. A pattern that is popular among many households involves Fu characters that represent good luck. Once each paper-cut is completed they are pasted around the home, generally on furniture or windows. However, they can be pasted pretty much anywhere. Family members will often go all out and try to make their paper-cuts more elaborate than they were the year before. They will spend quite a bit of time preparing them for the weeks leading up to the Chinese New Year in order to ensure that they are ready in time.
3- Handing Out Red Envelopes To Children
Who wouldn’t love receiving extra money during the Chinese New Year? Many individuals give out red envelopes filled with money as part of the celebrations. These envelopes are often prepared by the elderly and then given out to children. Children who receive an envelope are thought to receive extra protection and safety during the year. Many children look forward to receiving these envelopes in anticipation of the holiday. How the money is used will vary with each household. Some families will use it to buy school supplies for their children while others will save it for future use. One thing that is certain is that the money in each envelope tend to increase every year. On average children receive anywhere from $50 to $100 in their red envelope. However, there is no set amount as to how much must be placed into them. The receiver can use their discretion as to how much they want to give.
In conclusion, the Chinese New Year is a fun holiday that is filled with a lot of unique customs. Many of them date back thousands of years and are looked forward to every single year. Families tend to go all out in order to make memories with their family and bring about happiness and good luck during the New Year.