On January 22, the Chinese New Year began. Year of the Rabbit which will end on February 9, 2024. On this occasion it is presided over by the Water Rabbit, symbol of longevity, the omens for Chinese culture are of peace and prosperity. But what are the traditions and celebrations that revolve around the most important event in China?

Chinese New Year, Year of the Rabbit begins

As noted in the Chinese Horoscope, each year corresponds to an animal. Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each of these 12 animals has an associated element: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. The Water Rabbit foresees that this will be a year of hope.

Also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, it is the most important event for Asian culture. With the celebrations, a new year begins in the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. And where once it was tradition to honor gods and ancestors, it has now become the perfect occasion to celebrate and visit family. The celebrations last 16 days, starting on Chinese New Year’s Eve until the Lantern Festival.

What are the customs and traditions that revolve around the Chinese New Year

The festivities vary from one region to another. But they all share the same theme: saying goodbye one year and welcoming the next.

The houses are decorated with red elements

The first thing that is usually done is to clean the houses and then decorate them. Red is the main color because it is believed that it denotes prosperity and energy. And that also drives away evil spirits and negativity. That is why the lanterns that are seen in the streets are also of this color.

Offerings are made to ancestors

Honoring the dead is a Chinese New Year tradition that is maintained today. Many citizens visit the graves of their ancestors on the last day of the year. In turn, they make offerings to the ancestors during the gathering dinner so that they “eat” first.

Family gatherings and dinners on Lunar New Year’s Eve

Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is celebrated in family. New Year’s Eve dinner is called ‘gathering dinner’. Entire generations sit around large round tables to taste food together.

Exchange of red envelopes and other gifts

Red envelopes (ya sui qian) contain money. They are often gifted to children and seniors along with the wish for a safe and quiet year. Other very common gifts are tea, fruits, and sweets.

Chinese New Year: Fireworks

From the streets of major cities to rural areas, firecrackers and fireworks are launched. With the aim of chasing away evil and welcoming the arrival of the new year.

Lion and dragon dances

The dances of lions and dragons, very typical of these festivities, are performed to bring prosperity and good luck. They are quite a spectacle!

And what are the foods served to the table for Chinese New Year?

Food is a very important part of Chinese New Year celebrations.  Fish cannot miss because for Asian culture symbolizes abundance. Meatballs in the shape of silver ingots are also tasted as a sign of family unity and prosperity. Another very typical food is Niángāo or rice cake.

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