Chinese New Year: A Collaborative Report

The following article is a collaborative merger of many research essays written in Ms. Wang’s Mandarin Chinese 1 class. We thank all of the guest reporters and Ms. Wang for their contributions to The Sky Line. 

from Kylen Keuma

The Chinese New Year is considered the most important festival of all in China. This year is the year of the Rooster, as considered from the Chinese Zodiac. It is celebrated from the 1st day of the 1st lunar month to the 15th day of the 1st lunar month. The final day is called the Lantern Festival, and the night before the 1st day is called Chinese New Year’s Eve (Chúxī in Chinese pinyin and 除夕). This is a time for family reunions. It is also a time to throw away the old and bring in the new. The Chinese New Year can also be called “Guònián” (过年)which means the passing of the old year to the new one. This festival emphasizes the importance of family. The family’s reunion dinner is one of the most important gathering in the New Year

from Shelby Roberts

In China, it is common to see the decoration of that coming year’s zodiac on every avenue and doorstep. The atmosphere is lit up with good vibes and an overall bright time for the average person participant in the holiday. It starts off with a reunion dinner. A meal including the most iconic Chinese food: the steamed or fried dumplings. Fish is also a must, as in it is known for bringing wealth upon those who eat is. Spring rolls and rice cakes are served as well when the families throughout China prepare to eat.

from Ruby Sem

The two main colors involved in Chinese New Year are red and yellow. Yellow means warmth, nourishment, and support. This relates to the sun and how it supports the Earth and its many people, animals, plants, and more. The color red symbolizes luck and good fortune. Red is the primary color of the New Year. Most decorations, clothing, and traditions heavily involve red.

Chinese New Year is a family event. It causes one of the largest human migrations every year as people flood into airports and train stations to see family. The family eats meals together, especially with dumplings. In the morning, children are given red envelopes with money inside them. These red envelopes are called hóngbāo (红包) and are a popular tradition for the spring festival.

from Riley Young

The Chinese New Year celebrations involve doing something special every day. The first day includes cleaning and shopping. The next event involves staying up late to watch the gala and set off firecrackers. The gala is a very important part in Chinese New Year. This gala costs China about 8.5 million U.S. Dollars each year, as well as other costs for commercials. Next, at midnight, a ton of fireworks are set off as well as more in the evening. The next few days are spent meeting relatives and handing red envelopes out. Even though the festival is not over, the celebration is paused while the families go back to work. Finally, for the finale, the lantern festival takes place and is super busy the entire day. Chinese New Year is a busy time of year for most of East Asia and south east Asia for most of the festival.

from Faolan Moore

Traditionally, Chinese New Year was celebrated differently than how it is now. When it was the time of celebration, business life and work would come to a stop to make time and a peaceful environment for the new year. Home and family were the most important focus. In preparation for the holiday, homes were thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “huiqi,” which might have been collected during the past Year. They are spirits, or breaths that bring bad fortune and must be rid of. Cleaning was also meant to show a more appealing household to the gods who would be coming down from heaven to make inspections and notes on whether or not the they were appeased by the work. Ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons were offered to gods and ancestors. People posted scrolls printed with lucky messages on household gates and set off firecrackers to frighten evil spirits. Elders gave out money to children. In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period were meant to bring good luck to the household and long life to the family–particularly to the parents.

Today, the evolution of the celebration has grown to be a more wealth based and extravagant than the traditional celebration. In the early 21st century, many Chinese families spent a significant amount of their discretionary income celebrating the Spring Festival with traditional symbols and food. They also spent time watching the televised Spring Festival Gala: an annual variety show featuring traditional and contemporary singers, dancers and magic demonstrations. Although the rites of the holiday no longer had religious value, people remained sensitive to the zodiacal animals to the extent that they considered what, for example, a year of the rat might mean for their personal fortunes or for a child born at that time.

      Overall, Chinese New Year has had much of a change over the centuries it has been celebrated through, but the history has always been a big part of their cultural and affected their views on ancestors and gods.

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