Chinese New Year (Spring Festival or Lunar New Year) is an important festival in China. It’s a time of celebration, where families gather together to greet the new year.
This holiday allows Chinese people to pay homage to the gods and spirits and enjoy mouthwatering food. However, as you educate yourself about celebrating Chinese New Year, you may wonder what traditions they observed and the food they ate during this holiday.
If you want to enjoy the following celebrations, this article guides you to celebrating the previously concluded Chinese New Year this 2023.
What Is the 2023 Chinese Zodiac Animal?
This new year celebrates the Water Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac cycle. This animal is also synonymous with long life, peace, and abundance. Moreover, people expect 2023 to be a year of optimism and possibility.
When Did People Celebrate Chinese New Year 2023?
This year’s celebration occurred on the 22nd of January. People base this yearly event on the Chinese lunar calendar, where the date changes yearly and usually falls between the 21st of January and the 20th of February.
Why Do We Celebrate Chinese New Year?
Legend says the celebration originated from an ancient battle against a beast called the Nian. People use red paper, bamboo, candles, and red clothes to scare away the monster. Today, people still practise these customs to celebrate the Chinese New Year and the arrival of spring.
What Are the Main Traditions?
While regional customs and traditions vary widely, each one shares the same theme of bidding the old year goodbye and welcoming the new year of luck and prosperity. Here are a few of the main traditions people observe during this holiday.
1. Cleaning and Decorating Their Homes with Red Things
People clean their homes before the Spring Festival to attract good luck. They also use red as a primary colour for celebration because it symbolises prosperity and energy. Moreover, people observing this celebration will also hang their homes with red lanterns and decorations.
2. Offering Sacrifices to Their Ancestors
People visit their ancestors’ graves the day before the celebration to honour the dead. They offer sacrifices before the reunion and an extra glass for their ancestors at the dinner table on New Year’s eve.
3. Giving Gifts and Red Envelopes
This celebration is a time of ya sui qian (压岁钱 /yaa sway chyen/), which are money-filled envelopes. Celebrants give them to children and seniors. Other popular gifts offer alcohol, tea, fruits, flowers, and candles.
4. Socialising on Lunar New Year’s Eve
Chinese New Year is a special occasion when families gather together to celebrate. Clans reunite on the eve of the Lunar New Year to share an evening meal and spend quality time with one another. Large families from different generations gather at a circular table to savour the delicious food and spend quality time together.
5. Watching Lion and Dragon Dances
People in China and Chinatowns watch lion and dragon dances because they symbolise prosperity and good luck. They also practise other traditions and customs like wearing new clothes, staying up late on Chinese New Year’s Eve, and watching the Spring Festival Gala.
6. Igniting Firecrackers and Fireworks
Chinese people set off fireworks and firecrackers to attract good luck and ward off evil spirits.
What Food Do They Serve during This Time?
Celebrants usher in the Chinese New Year with lucky food, including fish (symbolising abundance), dumplings (family unit and prosperity), and niángāo (symbolising a higher income or position).
Ushering a Prosperous 2023
Chinese New Year remains a significant holiday in China, where loved ones pause from their busy schedules to get together and welcome a new year filled with opportunities. Educating yourself on the food and customs can help you enjoy this occasion.
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