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Chinese New Year is an important and integral part of Chinese culture and traditions. It’s the celebration of removing the unwanted and negative energy and welcoming the New Year with positivity through food, folk stories, traditions, beliefs and celebrations.
The term Chinese New Year is popular among Asian countries, but in other parts of the world, it is commonly known as Lunar New Year, New Year Festival and Spring Festival. Despite the term, today people from all nationalities join to be part of the auspicious festival.
It is celebrated in a big, prestigious and most respectful way to the community.
Before heading to that bit of worldwide celebration, let’s get to know more about its history, meaning and importance.
What is Chinese New Year?
The 2024 Chinese New Year will be celebrated on 10th February and it is known as The Year of The Dragon.
It’s a big year for the Chinese and a few other neighboring countries which takes place as a 15-day celebration among the Chinese communities around the world. It symbolizes the beginnings of a new moon that appears between 21 Jan – 20 Feb annually. This occasion also marks the end of winter and welcomes spring on the calendar, and thus commonly known as Spring Festival.
The celebration has a strong influence in other parts of the Asian countries and beyond the UK, US and Europe. The tradition remains the same in every part of the world among the Chinese. But some of the popular themes for Chinese New Year are paper cuts, firecrackers and gifting money in red envelopes.
History and Traditions of Chinese New Year
The New Year and its traditions have a history behind it.
The first trace can be seen only as a family tradition to celebrate the 10 months of the ancient social calendar.
The first mention of New Year was during the time of the Warring States Period. It was when the tradition of exorcism of expelling illness started. Now it’s turned into a ritual of cleaning the house thoroughly before the Chinese New Year.
The first record of celebrating New Year was recorded during the period of the Han Dynasty. It was when the practice of worshiping ancestors started, and now, maintained by the Chinese community across the world.
The gifting, food and drinks tradition was started during the period of the Jin Dynasty. Ever ever since become part of the tradition to gather and celebrate among family and friends
The practice of bamboo firing started as a tradition during the time of the Northern and Southern dynasties. Later, it became part of the fire-cracking beliefs to scare evil spirits away
Greeting cards became popular among the people after the rule of Tang Dynasty as a symbol of gesture. And today it is considered to be good luck to send greeting cards to friends and families
The Song Dynasty made it popular to give money to wish the prince and princess longevity. And, now it is one of the traditions celebrated by the Chinese.
Most Beautiful Chinese New Year Celebrations Across the World
To say goodbye to the Year of the Rabbit (2023), these countries from Asia to North America are well prepared to celebrate this auspicious day with street parades, illuminated lantern lights, parties or even stunning displays. Check out how these countries celebrate Chinese New Year!
Chinese New Year 2024 celebrated in China – Shanghai’s Yuyuan Lantern Festival
Every year the Yuyuan Garden attracts many people in Shanghai to witness the best annual lantern display. The dazzling lanterns are let out in the air in many shapes, designs, and colors depicting the animals from fish, rabbits, and dragon for a symbolic meaning. To make it more interesting, there are secret riddles and puns for those who want extra brain fun for the night!
2024 Chinese New Year celebrated in New York – Firecracker Ceremony
If you are in New York, you should miss this extravagant celebration! Imagine 600,000 firecrackers burning the evil spirits, more like a banishment from the state right? New Yorkers flock to Sara D. Rosevelt to let their bad omens out on this day. There will also be a lion dance and street parade which goes along to Chinatown.
2024 Chinese New Year celebrated in Los Angeles – Golden Dragon Parade
With this year’s animal symbol as the Dragon, there’s no better place to celebrate this auspicious day than LA’s oldest tradition – The Golden Dragon Parade! This is the 125th annual Chinese New Year that will start from Hill and Ord St and take a stop at Broadway and Chaser Chavez.
Chinese New Year 2024 celebrated in Manchester – Parade
Known as a student city, Manchester is one of the biggest cities in the UK with a huge Chinese population. There’s no better place to celebrate the Chinese New Year than this place in the UK. This year the Dragon parade is returning to Manchester with more fun, exciting Dragon sculptures parading along the street to Chinatown. There’s been fun and frolic too, with food, face painting, performers, ribbon dancers and many others.
Chinese New Year celebrated in Vancouver – Spring Festival Parade 2024
This is one of the biggest and most celebrated annual parades starting from Millennium Gate into Chinatown. 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Celebration. There will be a huge group of processors marching from all types of communities in Canada. This year, they are showcasing 70 cultural groups from marching bands, dance groups, martial arts groups, etc. There will be a lion dance team too that will tag along the 1.3 km parade. The day will wrap up with a gala dinner, performances and lively entertainment.
What are the common traditions of celebrating Chinese New Year 2024 ?
- Pray to God and ancestors
- Cleaning of homes
- Shopping for clothes, food, decorations, etc
- Decorating the streets and homes
- Offering to the old ancestor’s spirits
- Family and friends’ dinner
- Gifting money in a red envelope
- Burning firecrackers
- Visit temples
- Exchanging gifts
- Prepare Chuen Hap
What are the traditional Food To Prepare for Chinese New Year?
Some of the most popular traditional meals to prepare for Chinese New Year are:
Jiaozi – Moon Jiaozi-shaped Chinese dumplings filled with meat and mixed vegetables
Nian Gao – Rice cake is usually given as a form of ritual gift to family and friends
Laba Congee – It is a traditional dish made out of nuts, dried fruits, meat and vegetables on the 8th day of the celebration
Tang Yuan – Desserts made from rice and filled with other ingredients for union and togetherness.
What to avoid on Chinese New Year?
Some of the taboos and beliefs to avoid this year are:
- Do not broom, mob or throw out garbage this day as it symbolizes dumping out good luck from the house
- Use only positive affirmation and avoid any form of negative words to attain positivity in life
- Do not eat porridge as it symbolizes poverty and avoid meat as it is disrespectful to the Buddhist Gods
- Avoid washing hair or getting a haircut on this day
- Do not wash clothes
- Avoid breaking things
- Do not visit any hospital on that day
- Avoid wearing black or white, try red color
- Always wear new clothes and welcome the new year with new things
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