There are lots of great websites and Youtube videos about traditional Chinese New Year celebrations (which we have listed below). Traditions are an important part of every societies culture and while some traditions stay unchanged for centuries others evolve or fade out. So, instead we wanted to take a look at what New Years festivities are like for young people in modern China!
(Don’t forget to check out the Dublin Chinese New Year Festival to see the many exciting events running from 24 January until 10 February!)
Three traditions that were are still popular:
- On the New Year’s Eve, people travel from far and wide to be with their families for ‘Reunion Dinner’. It is the largest annual human migration which was estimated to be 3 billion trips in this festive season. Regardless of how busy or far away from home, this physical and spiritual journal is a must for Chinese people, to go in the direction of their family and a the new beginning.
- Generally speaking, people in the north of China make dumplings with family members for a celebration, while people in the south of China more often make niaogao instead, which could be translated literally as “new year rice cake”.
- Hongbao, the red envelop, is a symbol of the Chinese Spring Festival. In case you wonder what is inside, yes, it is genuine money. The children and young people will show their good wishes and respect to the seniors, in return, a red envelope will be rewarded. For children, this is some pocket money for candies and toys. For young people, this could be a fund saved for something they want for a long time. While in reality, it could often be taken by the parents and was put into collective usage of the family or the child’s college fund.
Three traditions that were changed:
- China’s national television organises Spring Festival Gala annually, which was the most popular TV programme people would watch with united family members on New Year’s Eve. Now, there are way more choices similar to the Gala, like different celebrations hosted by local television, new online media and even live-streaming and self-media.
- It used to be a taboo to use brooms for cleaning in the festive season, as it symbolised “sweeping away the good fortune”. Also, people do not go for a haircut because it was believed to bring bad luck to one’s uncle. Now, these traditions were taken much less seriously. People follow the tradition more to preserve the culture rather than believing in the superstition.
- For children, one of the best parts of the Chinese New Year was the fun of lighting up firecrackers and fireworks, either because they were so beautiful or just because they made a loud, booming sound! Now for safety reasons, many cities either prohibit the lighting of fireworks or have restricted areas. So, the tradition was transformed and electronic firecrackers became a popular festive toy for children.
Chinese New Year Traditions and Info:
This is a brilliant website that covers traditional Chinese New Year legends, foods, decorations, clothes etc. ChineseNewYear.net