Spanning 15 days, the Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) is a time to rejoice and reconnect with the family and friends. So, as you get set to celebrate the most important event on the Asian calendar, we bring to you 10 interesting facts about Chinese New Year.
1. It’s the world’s largest annual migration
Every Chinese New Year, more than a billion people travel across the world to their hometowns via planes, trains, buses, and cars. In China, this phenomenon is known as Chunyan, and it is the world’s largest annual human migration.
2. Open the door to welcome the New Year
As soon as the clock strikes midnight on Lunar New Year’s Eve, open every door and window in the house – this allows the old year to go out and the good vibes of the new year to come in.
3. Eat Buddha’s Delight
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, it’s a Buddhist tradition that no animal or fish should be killed, so many families eat a vegetarian meal called jai, or Buddha’s Delight, consisting of 18 ingredients. Each of the 18 ingredients symbolises something special. For instance, the lotus seed is eaten to encourage the birth of male offspring, black moss seaweed is eaten to gain wealth, and bamboo shoots and consumed for wellness.
4. Pack your knives away
And make sure you’ve prepared your jai in advance! Using a knife on the first days of the new year “cuts off” all the good luck for the coming year.
5. Stay at home on Day 3
According to ancient superstitions, it’s best to stay at home on Day 3 of the Lunar New Year. Known as Chi Kou Ri, the day of the red mouth, this is not a good day to socialise, as you may end up quarrelling with family and friends. Other traditions state that you shouldn’t clean the house, make a fire or eat rice on the third day.
6. Day 5 is the day of wealth
The 5th day of the Chinese New Year is known as Po Wu. Traditionally, people celebrate with a large banquet and fireworks to draw the attention of the God of Wealth. Make a big batch of dumplings, which represent gold ingots.
7. Everyone has a birthday on Day 7
You get a birthday, and you get a birthday, and you get a birthday! Everybody gets a birthday on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year, which is the celebration of Renri, the birthday of all humans. According to Chinese traditions, the goddess Nuwa created human beings from yellow clay on the seventh day. Cross your fingers for good weather on Renri, as it’s believed this will grant good luck to all people on earth.
8. Don’t eat tofu during Chinese New Year
People refrain from eating tofu during Chinese New Year since it is white and the white colour symbolises death and misfortune in the Chinese culture.
9. Flowers symbolise rebirth
Fresh flowers are placed in and around the houses to symbolise rebirth and growth. Fill your home with plum blossom for courage and hope, and the water narcissus for good luck and prosperity.
10. Dragon and lion dances to drive away evil
Dragon and lion dances are traditionally performed during Lunar New year to pray for good luck and drive away evil spirits.