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Chinese Customs

As the most important festival of the year, there are lots of traditions for the Chinese Spring Festival.  Chinese people may celebrate in slightly different ways, but their wishes are almost the same: wishing family members and friends to be healthy and lucky during the year ahead.

 

Dust Sweep

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The custom of dust sweeping originated from the ancient of epidemic elimination. Dust sweeping is a kind of cleaning to prepare for Chinese New Year. It can be done any time between the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month and New Year's Eve.

Paying Tribute to the Kitchen God

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An important folk activity during Chinese New Year is to pay tribute to the kitchen God. The ceremony is usually held on the 23r day of the 12th lunar month. Legend has it that on this day each year the Kitchen God will report to the Jade Emperor the good or bad deeds of a family which results in either reward or punishment delivered by the Jade Emperor.
Consequently, people would put tribute like cakes and sweets in front of the kitchen God Painting in the hope that more good deeds could be reported to the Jade Emperor, who would bless them with a smooth and safe year ahead.

Reunion dinner

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The dinner includes cold dishes, hot dishes and desserts, but two things In particular - fried food that is red in color, or hot pot, and fish. Red is regarded as an auspicious sign, so is the boiling hot pot. The Chinese word for fish has the same pronunciation as the word for harvest, so it is a dish that people must have at any feast. By having desserts, people hope to enjoy more sweetness in future life. The number of dishes must be even, like 10, 12, 16, 18, because odd ones are considered ominous.

Paste the Chinese Character of Fu on the Door

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It is traditional for every family to paste the character “Fu" on their doors during the Spring Festival. “Fu” means happiness and fortune. Many people paste the character upside down, as upside down happiness in Chinese sounds the same as “happiness arrives”.

Paper-cuts for Window Decoration

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Paper-cuts are a traditional folk art for window decorations in China. In the old days, people all over China would put paper-cuts on their windows to celebrate Chinese New Year. The patterns usually portray harvests or abundance to express their hope for a better life while adding to the festive atmosphere.

Spring Festival Couplets and New Year’s Paintings

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Peach planks were the predecessor of Spring Festival Couplets. People made two wooden planks from peach trees, writing down the names of the gods and hanging them on doors as protection. Later, the planks evolved into pieces of red paper bearing auspicious words. They are called Spring Festival couplets.

New Year Lucky Money

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During New Year, the elders give the younger generation luck money, which is auspicious and meant to drive out evil spirits carries the hope of the elders for the younger generation to be healthy and free of troubles in the New Year. In China red symbolizes good luck, so the lucky money is usually wrapped red paper, also nicknamed a " red envelope”.

Performing Lion-dance and Dragon-dance

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Lion-dance and dragon-dance is the traditional dance in China, usually performed at Chinese traditional festivals such as Chinese New Year or important occasions such as business opening events.

The lion and dragon symbolize power in Chinese culture. People believe that performing lion-dance and dragon-dance can scare away evil spirits and bring good fortune. Beyond that, it also livens up the atmosphere of the Spring Festival.

Temple Fair

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The Spring Festival Temple Fair is additional folk culture event. At temple fairs, people can pray, enjoy entertainment shows, and shop as well. There are all kinds of activities including singing and dancing robotics, lion dances, boat dances, stilt-walking, Yangge dances, Taiping drum playing, and so on.

 

New Folk Customs