The main traditional celebrations of the festival include eating reunion dinner with family, giving red envelopes, firecrackers, new clothes, and decorations. More modern celebrations include watching the CCTV Gala, instant message greetings, and cyber money gifts.
A Festival for Family – Chinese get together and enjoy family time.
Chinese New Year is a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families.
The New Year’s Eve dinner is called “reunion dinner”, and is believed to be the most important meal of the year. Big families of several generations sit around round tables and enjoy the food and time together.
Decorating Buildings, Houses, and Streets with Lucky Red Items
Chinese New Year decorationPut up red couplets for Chinese New Year
Every street, building, and house where CNY is celebrated is decorated with red. Red is the main color for the festival, as it is believed to be an auspicious color. Red lanterns hang in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity.
Most of the decoration is traditionally done on Chinese New Year’s Eve.
As 2017 is the year of rooster, decorations related to roosters will be commonly seen. There are red rooster dolls for children and New Year paintings with roosters on.
Find more on Chinese New Year Decorations.
Cultural Activities to Welcome the New Year
the spring festival Chinese New Year lion dance
Many cultural activities are arranged during the festival. Rural areas and small towns retain more traditional celebrations than the cities, such as setting off firecrackers, ancestor worship, and dragon dances. Setting off fireworks is common during the Spring Festival season all over China.
At temple fairs in many Chinese cities traditional performances can be seen: dragon dances, lion dances, and imperial performances like an emperor’s wedding. A great variety of traditional Chinese products are on offer there, and strange Chinese snacks, rarely seen the rest of the year. Beijing’s temple fairs are held in parks from the first day of the lunar year to the Lantern Festival.
In North China people perform various versions of the Rice Sprout Song, a traditional Chinese dance performed by a group of colorfully-dressed women and men.
Giving Red Envelopes to Pass On Best Wishes
Giving Red EnvelopesGiving red envelops or Hongbao is a custom at Chinese New Year
Like Christmas in the West, people exchange gifts during the Spring Festival. The most common gifts are red envelopes. Red envelopes have money in, and are given to children and (retired) seniors. It is not a customs to give red envelopes to (working) adults, except by employers.
Red envelopes are used in the hope of giving good luck (as well as money) to the receivers.