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Customs of the Spring Festival

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Written by: Nancy
Photo by:Nancy
Edited by:James Campion |  Date:2016/02/19144 Hits

The Spring Festival is the most important festival for all Chinese people and is when all family members get together, just like Christmas in the west. Chinese people may celebrate the festival in different ways, but our wishes are almost always the same. We wish our family members and friends a happy, healthy and prosperous next year.

 

Many customs accompany the Spring Festival. Although some of them have changed, many are still followed today.

 

Sweeping the Dust

“Dust” means old and past in Chinese. “Sweeping the dust” before the Spring Festival means a thorough cleaning of houses to sweep away bad luck from the past year. By doing so, people hope to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one.

 

 

Pasting Spring Festival Couplets

“The Spring Festival Couplets” also called “couplets” or “a pair of antithetical phrases”, is a special form of literature in China. The Spring Festival Couplets is composed of two antithetical sentences on both sides of the door and a horizontal scroll bearing an inscription, usually an auspicious phrase, above the gate. On the eve the Spring Festival, every household will paste on doors a spring couplet written on red paper to create a happy and prosperous atmosphere for the festival.

 

 

Staying Up Late on New Year’s Eve

The tradition of staying up late on New Year’s Eve originated from an interesting folk tale. In ancient China, there lived a ferocious monster named “nian”. It always went out to devour people in villages. Therefore, on New Year’s Eve, people didn’t dare to go to sleep and they instead chatted together. Thus, the habit of staying up late on New Year’s Eve was formed. Nowadays, when the New Year bell rings at midnight of the Spring Festival eve, people will set off fireworks and firecrackers to welcome the New Year.

 

 

New Year’s Visit and Gift Money

On the first day of Chinese lunar New Year, people will put up new clothes to visit their relatives and friends and give New Year’s greetings. Usually, the juniors will greet the seniors, and the seniors will give gift money to the juniors as a wish for their safety in the coming year. Now, the way of giving New Year’s greetings has greatly changed with the development of new technology, because more and more people are inclined to send their New Year’s greetings by telephones, text messages and WeChat.

 

 

China has formed many customs of Spring Festival during its long history and culture. Although some of them have changed with the development of new technologies and the arrival of the new times, they all reflect the special characteristics of the Chinese people and they are an indispensable part of Chinese traditional culture.