Chinese New Year – The Tradition and Its Meaning
When some countries are welcoming Valentine’s Day, chinese people are busy preparing their most important day of the year, which is the 年节 Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year). In China, it also known as 春节 Spring Festival. The derivative term of it is 过年, which mean “pass the year”. I myself as a descendant of chinese people, even though I live in Indonesia, I also celebrate the chinese new year festivities every year. Chinese new year is the moment when we usually gather as family together. In my house, i also have a tradition to pray to my ancestors by offering food and fruit in a table. This is a form of respect to our ancestors. Beside those two activity, there are still a lot of tradition we usually do during chinese new year.
Along with the development of technology, many people start to leave this tradition. To provide some enlightenment, i would like to share with you about what tradition we usually do during Chinese New Year and the meaning of each activity for our life.
How Long Chinese New Year Celebrations Will Last?
Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally ran from Chinese New Year’s Day itself (the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar) to the Lantern Festival on the (15th day of the first month).
What Tradition We Usually Do For Chinese New Year Celebration?
There are some tradition we usually do before the chinese new year coming, such as :
– Buy a new clothing
It’s some kind of tradition that we have to buy a new clothes before chinese new year. According to the belief, we must wear the new clothes on the first day of the Lunar New Year. This is for the sake of hope and a new spirit.
– Clean the House
We usually clean the house around 15 days before the lunar new year. The meaning of this activity is to sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for good incoming luck.
– Decorate The House with lampion, red color paper cuts and couplets
We usually decorate our house with chinese new year decoration items, such as lampion, red color paper cuts, any many others. We also place a upside down couplets in front the door of our house. The word we usually use is 福 (Fu) which means blessing for happiness, wealth and longevity.
– Serving Foods and Fruits to Our Ancestors
One tradition we usually to do is serve some foods and fruits to our ancestors. This is a form of respect and gratitude to our ancestors. Because of them, we can come in this world. Unfortunately, currently there are many people from certain religion consider this activity as satanic activity.
– Eat together with family on the eve of Chinese New Year
It’s a tradition that we have to have dinner together (除夕) with family on the eve of chinese new year. The meaning of 除夕 itself is evening of the passing.
– Receive a red paper envelopes (Angbao)
In the morning on chinese new year, we usually greet each other in our family and wish for healthy and happy new year. After that, the parents usually give their children, nephew, niece and grandchildren money in a red paper envelopes called 红包 angbao (in china, it called hongbao). It’s symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
The people who must give angbao is them who already get married. And the people who receive angbao is them who haven’t get married.
– Visiting Friends and Relatives
One of regular activity during Chinese New Year is visiting friends and relatives. One of my routine every Chinese New Year is visiting our family in other city. We usually use chinese new year as a moment where we can keep contact and close to our family. This moment usually is the time the children waiting for, because they will get a lot of angbao (red paper envelope) when visiting people.
– New Year Cake
New Year Cake (年糕) is also identical to Chinese New Year. The cake made of sticky rice and sugar is sweet and chewy. This cake usually place in a basket. The presence of New Year Cake means that we hope for increasingly prosperous year in year out.
– Lion Dance
Lion dance (舞狮) performance is identical to the Lunar New Year. In my country, it well known as Barongsai. Lion is believed as sacred animal that can ward off the evil spirits. Lion dance is operated by two people and most of the movement is based on chinese martial arts.