Chinese New Year: All around the world
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, marks the start of a new lunar calendar year. The Han people (The majority of Chinese) have four traditional holidays, one of which is the New Year. Since the Ming Dynasty, Chinese New Year celebrations have lasted until the 15th day of the first lunar month, when the Lantern Festival is held.
The issue remains, though, if the Chinese New Year now is the same as it was in the past. Is there a difference in how people throughout the world celebrate the New Year? Today, we'll look at the numerous ways and methods used by different people throughout the world to celebrate Chinese New Year.
The traditions and cultural activities remain almost the same in the past and now and similar in most countries.
Giving Red Packets
Elders give younger generations red packages, commonly known as "Hong Bao," as a gesture of good fortune and wishes. Red envelopes will be given to their elders by their descendants if they are financially stable. Depending on the location, the number of red envelopes may differ. Red packages may contain anywhere from 100 yuan to more than 10,000 yuan in China, whereas NT$600 to 6,000 in Taiwan is relatively normal. Some individuals may notice the red envelope's value, which must be an even number, as opposed to the odd sums presented during funerals. Due to the fact that the number "eight" is pronounced similarly to "fa," which frequently implies "luck," red packets of eight dollars are widespread in the United States. The number "six," which is homophonic with the word "sliding," also denotes good fortune for the coming year. However, because of the homophonic sound with "death" in Chinese, the number "four" is associated with bad luck and not considered when preparing red packets.
Red packets are typically presented by married couples to unmarried juniors in the family in Cantonese tradition. Younger generations owe it to their elders to wish them happiness, health, and luck in the coming year out of courtesy and tradition. Married individuals would not decline such a request since it would bring good fortune to the person who distributed the red envelope in the future year. Some people keep red packets under their pillows for seven days before opening them. Sleeping for seven days with a red envelope under your pillow represents good fortune and money.
Exchange Gift Boxes
Small presents (typically food or sweets) are presented between friends and family in addition to red packets. When visiting family and acquaintances, gifts are frequently brought. Fruits, pastries, cookies, chocolate, and candy are common gifts. Clocks, green hats, shoes, pears, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, and any sharp objects are examples of taboo items that cannot be given. (Read Things that you should never give as a gift to a Chinese person)
Exhilarating Night Markets
Around the New Year, marketplaces will sell New Year-related things such as flowers, toys, apparel, and even pyrotechnics, making it easier for individuals to buy gifts for visiting family and friends or to decorate their homes. Purchasing annual flowers is like purchasing Christmas trees in several parts of the world.
New Year Foods
There are several Chinese New Year's Eve-only foods and drinks available, including "Nian Gao," "Spring rolls," "Tang Yuan," "Yee Sang," "Fish," "Steamboat," and others. Every year around Chinese New Year, Chinese families get together for a reunion meal. All of the foods have various symbolic significance. For example, "Nian Gao" represents improving each year, "Yee Sang" represents improving every day and making significant progress, and "Steamboats" represents a family reunion.
Lanterns, Chinese Poems, God of Fortune, and Spring Flowers are among the many Chinese New Year decorations. Most of them are red which is a popular color in Chinese culture and all of them are used as decorations for Chinese New Year in every country.
However, the conditions and the activities people do are different in various places around the world. We are going to discuss the differences below. However, in different parts of the world, the conditions and activities people engage in are different. The differences will be discussed further down.
The Spring Festival is a national holiday in mainland China, lasting from New Year's Eve to the sixth day of the first month. Various sectors (particularly labor-intensive ones) will also close early and take leaves; at the very least, factories, markets, and banks will be closed, as will the two major stock exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as the RMB and foreign currency markets. During the Chinese New Year, there is a tradition of family reunions in mainland China. Students and employees from other countries travel to their own hometowns from their places of employment.
Since the 1980s, many families have made it a tradition to watch China Central Television's Spring Festival Gala on New Year's Eve, which is broadcast live to Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Japan, the United States, and other countries. The Spring Festival Gala will also be broadcast live or recorded live, and the custom of "eating dumplings in the northern Han provinces of China" will be promoted to the southern Han and ethnic minority areas through advertisements of going home for the New Year and the host's New Year's greetings lines, among other things.
Buddhist temples across the country will hold temple fairs during the Spring Festival, and people will also go to Buddhist temples, Taoist temples, Confucian temples, churches, mosques, ancestral tomb tablets, martyr monuments, and other places to pray for a safe New Year on their own time.
To honor the Spring Festival, Chinese people from all walks of life will give out a variety of gifts. The People's Bank of China will begin trading Chinese New Year commemorative coins, gold and silver commemorative coins such as the 2022 Chinese Renyin (Tiger) Year gold and silver commemorative coins issued in November 2021 at major shopping malls and online every year before the Spring Festival.
China: Hong Kong and Macau
In Hong Kong and Macau, the Chinese New Year is always regarded as the most significant event of the year. People celebrate New Year's Eve by attending a government-organized market that begins on the Lunar New Year's 24th and finishes in the early morning of the lunar new year's first day, offering New Year flowers, windmills, stores, and food.
Inflatable folding chairs that imitate the battles in the film "Young and Dangerous," as well as paper towels emblazoned with Hong Kong dollar bills, are popular in the New Year's Eve market. During Chinese New Year, Cantonese rice cakes, carrot cakes, dumplings are traditionally served. Meals are frequently served with veggies and oyster sauce, indicating that the restaurant is doing well.
Every household must be cleaned on the 28th day of the year since cleaning on New Year's Day is regarded as cleaning out all the luck for the year. Families will meet for a reunion dinner on New Year's Eve and then head to the temple to burn incense. There will be a variety of festivities on New Year's Day, including parades, football matches, fireworks display, and lion dances.
Some folks will watch the horse race or go to the temple to worship on the third day of Chinese New Year. A New Year's parade and fireworks extravaganza are also held in Macau. The lantern festival takes place on the fifteenth day, which marks the conclusion of the Chinese New Year, and people can be seen hanging lanterns and solving riddles, bringing a large crowd to join in the fun.
Taiwanese families assemble for a reunion supper on New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve, on the other hand, is separated into two parts: the Small New Year's Eve, which occurs the day before New Year's Eve, and the Large New Year's Eve, which occurs on New Year's Eve itself. People will worship the Tiangong, who is regarded as the greatest God, after the first day of New Year's Eve. Each household began boiling rice cakes a few days before the Chinese New Year. On the first day of the first lunar month, New Year's Eve, or the prior day or two, Taiwanese people usually alter the Spring Festival couplets and door gods.
Vegetarian dinners are frequently served on the first day of the new year, before eleven o'clock in the morning. After eating, greet the elders first, then the parents, in that order, with New Year's greetings, wishing the family's seniors good health and luck. Following the New Year's pleasantries, the elders will distribute red envelopes to juniors who desire to greet the New Year, and then head out to visit significant relatives.
People will wake up early the next day and return to their parents' house. Married women are not permitted to return to their parents' house before midnight on the first day of the first month, according to Chinese custom. On the first day of the new year, parents will protest their girls returning home. On the third day, however, folks would sleep and rest for the entire day in order to unite with their family members.
The lantern celebrations will take place on the fifteenth day. As a result, on the fourteenth, temples and homes are decorated with lanterns. The grandest is the Taiwan Lantern Festival, which is toured by the Bureau of Tourism in various counties and cities. Every year, a massive main lantern is created based on the year's zodiac and serves as the main attraction.
Malaysia and Singapore
Many Chinese people live in Malaysia and Singapore, and they celebrate the Spring Festival as well. People will buy Chinese New Year goods and decorations on New Year's Eve and enjoy a reunion supper later that evening. People will travel to the temple on New Year's Day to burn incense and send New Year's wishes to family and relatives. People do not go out on the third day to pay New Year greetings, as they do in Taiwanese culture. Families would assemble on the seventh day for an activity called "Lao Yee Sang." Salmon, crackers, biscuits, sweet sauce, and garlic make up Yee Sang, a distinctive meal in Singapore and Malaysia.
After the ingredients have been prepared, everyone will use their chopsticks to combine them. In Chinese households, it is customary to engage in the festivities and wish everyone a happy new year. On the fifteenth day, however, Malaysian and Singaporean customs are a little different, with individuals not seen playing with lanterns or putting on displays.
The China-Thailand relationship The Chinese New Year is intertwined with the Thai culture. The Chinese in Thailand will not rush to send New Year's greetings but will instead follow the Buddhist tradition of going to the temple in the morning to give alms, prepare food and desserts for the monks, place them in their bowls, and pray.
Thai people will also prepare good Chinese traditional foods, desserts and fruits to pray to the Chinese god at their home to wish them luck and prosperity. Light firecrackers are believed to scare away evil spirits. Give a red packet to young children in the family and wish others happiness and wealth. Also, eat the food that they’ve used to pray to god with family members.
For Thai family which has no trace of chinese related blood. They will use different types of fruit, such as oranges, pineapples, bananas, dragon fruit, pomegranate etc. 9 joss sticks and flowers to pray to the spirit inside their car (guardian goddess of cars or Mae Ya Nang in Thai). They believe that she will protect them from accidents and make a good wish for their business which uses the car as the form of transport.
Finally, there are many distinct situations in various parts of the world. Some people like to observe Chinese New Year in certain ways, while others do not. However, the most important thing is that families and everyone is safe and reunited throughout the New Year, which makes for a great start to the new year. We wish everyone a joyous Chinese New Year and a safe holiday season.