Chinese New Year
Similar to Christmas in the West, Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) is the most important and anticipated festival in this country, which is loved by both young and old, as well as the noisiest and most joyful festival of the year. It lasts 15 days long, with preparations beginning long in advance. Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar, so it falls on a different day each year (but usually in January or February. In 2024, it will start on February 10th). The festival is full of traditions, many of which date back to prehistoric times. It is time for family and friends. During this time, no matter where they live, each family member heads back to their hometown to celebrate with their family.
Traditionally, the Chinese New Year begins ten days before New Year's Day. People will prepare New Year's greetings in the form of cards and letters, and send them to friends and family living far away. Then, the entire family would get together to clean their homes clean and fresh from top to bottom, which is usually seen as sweeping away bad luck, so that they could start the new year in good health and happiness. Seven days before the New Year, people often offer sacrifices to the Kitchen God, by cleaning the kitchen, changing a new print of the Kitchen God and preparing food.
In the last day before the new year, is time for decorating. Chinese couplets for good luck are pasted on either side of the doors and the Chinese character Fu is placed throughout the house. Another popular tradition is pasting colorful New Year's prints. It is an ancient art form featuring beautiful colors and auspicious designs that has recently made a comeback and can be seen all over China.
The next tradition is the Chinese paper cuttings, which are placed in the windows, as well as flowers with auspicious meanings are displayed in the house.
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is the last evening of the old year. Most people will arrive in their hometown on this day. As the sun goes down, the whole family sits together around the table talking and laughing, sharing their happiness, tasting the delicious reunion dinner, which most symbolizes good luck and fortune for the upcoming year, and enjoying the last few hours of this year. At the stroke of midnight, families used to light fireworks and set off crackers, but unfortunately, most are banned in urban areas these days.
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