Chinese New year is the most significant of all Chinese festivals. It is also one of the most widely celebrated events across Asia.
Mean to celebrate the end of winter and the arrival of spring, the Chinese New Year celebration last for 15 days, with each day carrying its own special meaning. Asian Inspirations sheds light on each of these 15 special days of Chinese New Year.
Fireworks, lion dances, and parades adorn the streets. Senior members of the family are honoured, while the young receive money, sweets, and small gifts in red envelopes.
This is the official beginning of the new year as well as the birthday of the God of Wealth.
Traditionally the third day is set apart as a day of paying respects to the dead. As such it is considered a bad day to visit friends and family or socialise at all. Superstitious people stay home or have their fortunes told at temples dedicated to the revered God of Wealth.
Though the celebrations go on for another 11 days, it is actually back to business from the fourth day. However, corporations and companies hold department dinners or social events for their employees.
This day is dedicated to food from authentic Chinese cuisine. Dumplings are plated up all around as people burst firecrackers to celebrate the festival in style.
This day is very similar to Day 5, with people sending up lanterns and setting off firecrackers to ward off malicious spirits.
Day seven is considered the day when everyone grows a year older. On this day Buddhists do not eat meat, and Chinese communities religiously eat raw fish salad to become prosperous.
The eighth day of Chinese New Year is the eve of the Jade Emperor’s birthday. To honour this Ruler of Heaven, people cook special meat dishes and light lamps and red lanterns.
The Jade Emperor’s birthday is considered very important by the Hokkien Chinese who live in Malaysia and Singapore. Prayers are offered and incense is lit.
Recognition and offerings continue to be offered to the Jade Emperor on Day 10.
These two days are when things mellow for a bit. Not much happens, but some people continue to carry on the old tradition of lighting lamps and lanterns.
After a solid ten to twelve days of non-stop eating, everyone takes up vegetarianism on the thirteenth day. This day is also dedicated to Guan Yu, the God of War.
Day 14 is spent in preparation of the Lantern Festival, which is the final Chinese New Year event.
Day 15 is considered the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day and is also the last day of Chinese New Year. It is filled with fireworks, cultural performances, and celebration.
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