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Chinese Lunar New Year Custom

edited December 2008 in - China
Currently I am writing something about Lunar New Year. I would like to share with you what I have written. It is about how the locals celebrate the Lunar New Year. A series of conventions are listed below in time sequence for reference only.

1 Kitchen God Worshipping
Kitchen God Worshipping generally takes place on Lunar December, 23rd or 24th. Kitchen God refers to the god residing in the kitchen. The locals believe each family has a Kitchen God who protects and supervises the family.
2 House Cleaning
After Kitchen God Worshipping, the Chinese people will start to sweep up the house. If you travel around China at that time, you will find the whole country, men and women, old and young, is busy with the house cleaning, washing whatever can be washed such as all sorts of utensils, all the bedding and curtains, etc.
3 Lunar New Year Decoration
It is a convention too for the Chinese to decorate the house with Lunar New Year ornaments including Spring Festival Couplets, the portraits of Door Gods, Lunar New Year Paintings, paper-cuts for window decoration, Reversed Fu, and Chinese knots, etc.
4 Sacrificing Ceremony
Before the Family Reunion Dinner, the Chinese are used to holding a worshipping ceremony to offer sacrifice to the Heaven, gods and ancestors.
5 Dinner on Lunar New Year Eve
Dinner on Lunar New Year Eve is an important element of Chinese Lunar New Year. It is also known as Family Reunion Dinner. Every family member should be present and enjoy the dinner together. It is considered the last meal of the year.
6 Lucky money
It is a festival gift given by the elder member of a family to the minors. On the Lunar Ney Year Eve, the parents and grandparents will give lucky money to the children after the family reunion dinner or put it secretly under the pillow after the children fall asleep. When paying Lunar New Year visits to their relatives, the children will receive lucky money too.
7 Lunar New Year Eve Staying-up
The Chinese people are used to staying up on Lunar New Year Eve. The old people stay up on Lunar New Year Eve to show that they cherish the time. The young people stay up for good health and a long life of their parents. It is often the happiest and freest moment for the kids. They are allowed to hang out late and no one asks them to go to bed on time.
8 Greeting Spring Festival
Year in year out, at 00:00 o’clock on the Lunar New Year Eve, the Chinese all over the nation set off firecrackers to show their greetings to the Spring Festival. And you will find the whole country is immersed in consecutive bangs of firecrackers, which bring about the climax of Spring Festival.
9 Lunar New Year Calls
Paying Lunar New Year calls to relatives and friends is an important convention in China. It is a way of giving one’s best wishes to others.

It is just a brief introduction and is not quite informative. I have tried my best to make myself clear so that you can understand it better. I hope you all enjoy it.
PS: If you want to re-paste it, please specify the source:


  • edited 12:01AM
    Zoechina - Wow! That is really interesting, thanks for adding this info.
  • edited 12:01AM
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  • edited 12:01AM
    You forgot to mention that the vast majority of Chinese, young or old, don't believe in these 'gods', no more than westerners believe in Santa Clauses, in fairies, or in Hans Christian Anderson! They are just traditions.; mythology. The family get togethers are traditions, and just that, and even the red envelope tradition is dying out now that young people are often more wealthy than their elders. WE still give red envelopes to family members until they become employed. We do have family reunion dinner on Lunar New Year's Eve, and like millions of others, it is in a local restaurant. We cedrtainly don't clean everything in the house that day, and don't know anyone that does. Our flat is always clean! Fireworks are dying out too. There were much less this year than last, and they are more for the enjoyment of children, as in other countries, than anything else.
    These days, with rising standard or living, we often have family reunions, especially on the birthdays of elders, or on other national holidays, but religion plays no part in them.
  • edited 12:01AM
    Sorry I cannot agree with you. In fact, I believe many people in China still believe in the gods although the government has tried hard to remove superstition from people's mind. And red envelope tradition is still prevailing at least in my hometown in Zhejiang Province. I guess you may be living in a big city where you are not allowed to have fireworks. Fireworks are banned in big cities concerning security issues. But they are not dying out. Once the ban is lifted, I am 100% sure that people will have fireworks all through the festival. :-) Yes, it is quite popular now for people to dine out on Lunar New Year Eve. That's correct.
  • edited May 2010
    Hi there, this is Cindy from Guilin Tianyuan International Travel Service. Nice to know you all here and read Zoechina's listed traditonal custom of our Chinese Lunar New Year!

    Actually, I agree with Zoechina that people still keep the mentioned tradional custom in many even in most area of China. With the modernisation of our secioty, maybe some custom is diaappearing in some metropolises, but I do not think that that will die out, as it is cultural treasure that our forefathers created. We may notice that more and more attention is paid to protect our traditional culture at present years. So I believe that our tradition will be passed by from generation to generation continuously.
  • edited 12:01AM
    For most people, Chinese lunar new year is a chance for family reunion. No matter how far you are away, people will try to go back home before the new year eve.
  • edited 12:01AM
    Most of the customs mentioned in Zoechina’s article are still followed by Chinese people, such as house cleaning, lunar new year decoration, family dinner new year eve, lucky money, greeting spring festival etc. For those who work or live in cities, they will not do kitchen god worshipping and sacrificing ceremony etc. More and more people don't have time to go back home for family reunion during the new year holiday because of their jobs or other reasons, but as spring festival is the most important festival for Chinese, all Chinese people will try best to go back home, and follow most of the Chinese traditional customs because they like to be in a family, they don't want the customs and traditonals to disappear, they like to see them keep going.
  • edited 12:01AM
    Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing with us. Unfortunately some of the customs gradually disppeared in our life due to the fast-paced lifestyle in China, especially in the city. In the countyside, possibly the traditions can be well preserved and carried down.
  • edited 12:01AM
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