Chinese New Year & Lantern Festival Traditions
This is a tremendous holiday in China. Tai was cooking for the last couple of days. Actually the prep work she did was the most time consuming part. Especially the preparation of the dumplings. Tai makes the best dumplings. Our New Year’s Eve dinner consisted of a main dish of fish and pork with dumplings and tasty veggie slaw. Fish is one of those traditional must eat meats for Chinese New Year (CNY). It is said to bring prosperity.
I have been reading up on CNY traditions and I am fascinated by the ceremonial aspects involved. There are certain things you cannot do on CNY day such as take a bath, wash clothes, or clean house. A married daughter cannot visit her parents on New Years day. However, she can visit the day after. When serving fish, the head of the fish is pointed at someone across the table whom you desire to have prosperity. Many tidbits of interesting facts and family customs I have learned. The Chinese culture today, especially the younger people are falling away from following the traditional values and customs of their ancestors.
Just like New Year Eve in America, we watched the Chinese New Year Gala countdown on TV. I never thought about it before but it is the most watched TV special in the world. The number of people celebrating is mind boggling (1.3 billion+ in China alone) when you think about it. I will say as far as entertainment and production goes, China puts on an amazing show. For me the New Year shows in United States have become boring and predictable. Very little variety. It is all about music (rock, hip-hop, rap, pop, country, etc.) and let’s not forget lip-syncing. We have lost the tradition values while China’s talent is diverse, colorful, funny, musically sweet, magically entertaining and non stop for a good part of four hours. Of course the main broadcast was out of Beijing. Full of traditions still observed today. There were four parallel broadcasts switching in and out from Xichang, Shanghai, Guilin and Harbin. You can watch it on You Tube. I am happy I have learned enough Chinese to follow along on some of the acts. There were several comedy acts I was able to follow some and understand parts of the emcees. TV is a great way to practice learning Chinese.
New Year’s Eve and CNY Day has been almost non stop firecrackers echoing from every direction. There has been the standard popping of regular firecrackers (single and multiple at once) and then there are the more booming explosive sounds reminding me of gun fire. However, guns are illegal in China so I can only guess. Maybe M80s. The Chinese are creative when it comes to fireworks. On the CNY Gala last night I saw fireworks that formed a rooster and one that formed a Chinese character you would write.
You will notice I added a new menu item on my blog for Chinese Holidays/Traditions. I’ve tried to include everything you want/need to know about Chinese New Year and celebrations. There were many things I did not know, such as folklore legends that are behind some of the legends which started more than 2000 years ago. It is well worth a look. I have a myriad of pages I think you will enjoy spending time perusing. I will be adding more holidays, festivals and such as those dates for celebration approaches.
Have a great weekend!!