For all of you who are celebrating the Chinese New Year ^^ This year is the year of Pig ^^ and is my first post for Chinese New Year ^^
Chinese New Year, known in Chinese as the Spring Festival (春节: Chūnjié) or the Lunar New Year (农历新年: Nónglì xīnnián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. The festival proper begins on the first day of the first lunar month (正月: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th, in which this day is called Lantern Festival (元宵节: yuánxiāojié). Lantern Festival is also known as the fifteenth night (十五晚: shíwǔwǎn or 十五暝: cha̍p-gō·-mê).
It is known as a tradition that we must clean the house before the Chinese New Year start. And i'm planning to do so after getting home from the office :P Surely will take a lot of time, since it's quite a mess :P
And to NEVER, clean the house at the Chinese New Year ! Even you may not touch the brom to swept dust. Since it was told that it can swept away your luck for the entire year ;)
Another one is, that supposedly we and the family unite together on the Chinese New Year's eve to have a dinner together. This one unfortunately, i can't do it this year :( since, i dont have a day off from my office, and since the Chinese New Year is tommorow, on Sunday, so no holiday for me :(
The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes chicken and fish. Fish (魚: yú) is included, but not eaten up completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase 年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú), which means "may there be surpluses every year", sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."
The other serving, is usually the so called Buddha's delight (罗汉斋: luóhàn zhāi), an elaborate vegetarian dish traditionally comprising 18 ingredients, is often served by Chinese families on the first day of the New Year.
And there's some ingredient called "fat choy" in Cantonese, which is kinda like some black hair-like moss, is also featured in Buddha's delight and other dishes, since its name sounds similar to "prosperity." Thus the word on Gong Xi Fa Cai or Gong Hei Fat Choy came from ;) We usually have kiu nyuk (扣肉) too, one of my favorite ^^
After that we usually get a red envelope (红包: hóng bāo) which contain money in it ;) this is some sort of tradition too, and is typically given by married to the unmarried. Some say it's given by the elder to the younger too ;) or those who already can earn money themselves to those who can't yet :) The money that contained within the hóng bāo is required to be of an even number, since it's a well known that an odd numbers are related to money given during funerals.
Now, to some of my knowledge and some wikipedia :P Maybe i'll give some tour about what we do on the 15 day of Chinese New Year ^^
On to the first day of Chinese New Year, is the most important, where families will pay a visit to their oldest and most senior member of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. And of course when we visited them, we get another hóng bāo ^^
The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents.
Third day and fourth of the new year, is the time where we must stop visiting for a while. The reasons is either both of these, or one of these
1) It is known as "chì kǒu" (赤口), meaning that it is easy to get into arguments. It is suggested that the cause could be the fried food and visiting during the first two days of the New Year celebration.
2) Families who had an immediate kin deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead. Some people conclude it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all.
The fifth day we have Jiǎo zi (饺子) (dumplings) on the morning of Po Wu. This is also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth. And some people may re-open the store on this day ^^ along with some firecrackers ;)
And on the fifteenth day of the new year which is the last day of the traditional New Year's celebrations. It is celebrated as Yuánxiāo jié (元宵节), the Chinese Valentine's. Some poeple called it Chap Goh Mei.
On this day Tangyuan (汤圆: tāngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is served ^^ i usually cant eat too much of this :P just a bowl would be enough :P my mom use to make a whole lots of it, and insisted the children to eat it all :P
Depending on locality, the same day may also be celebrated as the Lantern Festival, or as the Chinese Valentine's Day.
Lastly here are some Superstitions during the New Year period ;)
- Opening windows and/or doors is considered to 'bring in' the good luck of the new year.
- Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to 'scare away' ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year.
- Candy is eaten to ensure the consumer a "sweet" year.
- Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck. The word "shoes" is a homophone for the word for "rough" in Cantonese.
- Buying a pair of pants is considered bad luck. The word "pants" is a homophone for the word for "bitter" in Cantonese. (Although some perceive it to be positive as the word 'pants' in Cantonese could be a homophone for the word for "wealth".)
- A hair-cut is considered bad luck. The word "hair" is a homophone for the word for "prosperity". Thus "cutting hair" could be perceived as "cutting away your prosperity" in Cantonese.
- Sweeping the floor is considered bad luck, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year; in the same way that having a bath will wash away the good fortune.
- Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious as well.
- Buying books is bad luck, because it is a homonym to the word "lose".
Lastly to all of you who celebrate,
[reference taken heavily from wikipedia]