Living In China

A Guide to the Festivities of Chinese Spring Festival

Chinese Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, is one of the most important traditional festivals in China. It is celebrated on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, usually falling between late January and mid-February. The Spring Festival is not only a time to welcome the new year but also a time for family reunion, good fortune, and auspiciousness. If you are lucky enough to have a TEFL job in China during Spring Festival, you will even enjoy an extra month of holiday to celebrate! Here’s all you need to know about the Chinese Spring Festival.

Chinese Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)

The Origins of Chinese Spring Festival

The origins of Spring Festival can be traced back to ancient China, where it was called the “Yuan Dan” festival. It was believed that the emperor of heaven would descend to earth at the beginning of the new year to check on mortals. To avoid being punished by the emperor, people began to prepare offerings and sacrifices to appease him. Later, the Spring Festival became a time to ward off evil spirits and pray for good luck and prosperity.

Chinese Spring Festival’s Traditions and Customs

Two Hong bao's which a re traditional given as gifts during Chinese Spring Festival (Chinese New Year)

The Spring Festival is celebrated with various traditions and customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the most important customs is the reunion dinner, also known as “Nian Ye Fan.” It is a time for families to come together and share a meal. Many families prepare special dishes that are only eaten during the Spring Festival, such as dumplings, fish, and rice cakes.

Another tradition is the giving of “Hong Bao” or red envelopes. It is a monetary gift that is given to children and unmarried adults to bring good luck and prosperity. Red is considered a lucky color in China, and the red envelope symbolizes the passing of good luck and fortune from the giver to the receiver.

Spring Festival is also a time for cleaning and decorating. Many people clean their homes thoroughly before the new year to get rid of bad luck and welcome good fortune. Decorations such as red lanterns, couplets, and paper cutouts are also hung up to create a festive atmosphere.

The Lion and Dragon Dance

One of the most iconic Spring Festival traditions is the Lion and Dragon dance. The Lion and Dragon dance is a performance that involves dancers dressed in lion and dragon costumes. The dance is believed to bring good luck and scare away evil spirits. The lion is a symbol of courage and strength, while the dragon represents power and good fortune. The dance is accompanied by loud music and firecrackers, creating a lively and festive atmosphere.

When is Chinese New Year in 2024?

Chinese New Year in 2024 will be on January 25th, according to the lunar calendar. It will mark the beginning of the Year of the Dragon. The Year of the Dragon is considered one of the most auspicious years in the Chinese zodiac cycle. It is believed that those born in the Year of the Dragon are blessed with good luck, intelligence, power, and success. They are also believed to be courageous, confident, and ambitious, with a strong sense of leadership.

Fun Facts About Chinese New Year

Traditional Chinese Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) decorations

  • Chinese New Year is also known as the Lunar New Year because it follows the cycles of the moon. Each year is named after one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, such as the rat, ox, and tiger.
  • The color red is a symbol of good luck and happiness in Chinese culture. It is believed that wearing red or decorating with red during Chinese New Year can bring good fortune.
  • In China, it is customary to clean the house before New Year’s Day to sweep away bad luck and make room for good luck.
  • The Chinese New Year festival is the largest human migration in the world, with millions of people traveling to their hometowns to celebrate with their families.
  • The Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations, is celebrated on the 15th day of the lunar calendar. It is a time for lighting and releasing lanterns into the sky.

Chinese Spring Festival Wrapped Up

In conclusion, Chinese Spring Festival/Chinese New Year is an important traditional festival in China that is celebrated with family reunions, good fortune, and auspiciousness. The festival is steeped in ancient traditions and customs, such as the reunion dinner, the giving of red envelopes, and the Lion and Dragon dance. It is a time for people to come together and celebrate the new year, while also praying for good luck and prosperity. If you ever get the chance to experience Spring Festival in China, be sure to embrace the traditions and customs and immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere!

Tom Bogues

Tom is the Director of ESL Job Center. He has been working in the TEFL industry in one form or another since 2016 and is now using that experience to match quality teachers with quality schools across China.

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