Chinese New Year traditions

By: Ava Bleifuss

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Chinese New Year started on February 1st this year, and it is a festival that celebrates the lunar new year. Here are some of the traditions that are connected to the New Year celebrations.

The Lion and Dragon dances:

The Lion and Dragon dances during Chinese New Year have a special meaning.

The lion represents strength and superiority. The dragon represents power, excellences, and boldness.

These dances are meant to scare off the evil spirits and monsters, while also bringing in good luck and prosperity.

Food:

One tradition for Chinese New Year is to have a big dinner with the whole family. China is really big in size, so depending on where you live the food for Chinese New Year can vary. Some foods that are common to eat are longevity noodles, whole steamed fish, and sticky rice balls.

Longevity noodles (长寿面 chángshòumiàn)are long noodles where their length means to have a wish for a long life full of happiness.

When it comes to whole steamed fish(清蒸鱼 qīngzhēngyú)half of it is eaten for dinner, and the other half is eaten the next day, because people want to prolong the fish. The meaning of this is to have abundance in the new year, and live prosperously with the hope of a harmonious life.

Sticky rice balls(汤圆 tāngyuán)are sticky which makes them stick to each other. This symbolizes unity, family togetherness, and spending time with your beloved family members during Chinese New Year.

Red envelopes:

Giving out red envelopes(红包 hóngbāo) to those around you is a very important tradition for Chinese New Year.

Normally, red envelopes are given to children or those of the younger generations. This is to show you wish for them to have good fortune, prosperity, and good blessings for the year ahead of them.

Firecrackers and fireworks:

One reason for using firecrackers and fireworks is to celebrate the new year. However, there is a reason that people started doing this that isn’t just for celebrating the new year.

There was a story that during Chinese New Year a monster came to the villages and destroyed everything. The villagers tried everything to scare it away, but the only thing that worked were firecrackers and fireworks.

Every year people use firecrackers and fireworks to scare away any evil spirits that may be near, to then allow them to have a good new year.

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