Spring Festival, commonly known as "New Year", is the most important festival in China. Since the Revolution of 1911, China began to use solar calendar, so the January 1 was gradually became known as “New Year” and first lunar month as “Spring Festival”. The Spring Festival usually starts from the lunar New Year’s Eve and ends on the fifteenth day of the first month of Lunar Year. These two festivals have the characteristics of long history, wide spread, great popularity and universal. On the eve of the passing year, the whole family members get together having “family reunion dinner” together and stay up late for the coming year, the elders will distribute the “lucky money” to their offspring.
The Origin of the Spring Festival
There are many stories about the origin of Chinese Spring Festival, but the most popular one is that the Spring Festival was created by emperor Shun(2277-2178BC). When ascending the throne, emperor Shun worshiped the heaven and earth together with his subordinates. Since then, people regarded this day as the beginning of the year
Customs on Spring Festival
Chinese people usually use couplets to express their good wishes with its neat, simple and sophisticated form. It is our unique literary form. During the Spring Festival, every household whether in the urban or rural areas will choose a couplet to affixed to the door to add the festival atmosphere for the Festival. This custom started from Song Dynasty and became popular in the Ming Dynasty, in the Qing Dynasty the ideology and the art of the couplets had improved a lot
Apart from sticking the couplets, some people also stick “福” (fu2) on the walls and windows. The “福” means good fortune and good luck which indicate Chinese people wish for a happy and better life.
Setting off Firecrackers
On the first day of the New Year, the first thing after every household open the door is setting off firecrackers. They want to leave the bad things behind and welcome the better life in the next year. Firecrackers are a specialty of China, its early origin can trace back to 2000 years. Exploding the firecrackers can bring joy and luck to people.
Paying a New Year Call
On the first day of the New Year, people usually wake up early and dress on the beautiful clothes to visit their relatives and friends to say Happy New Year and wish a good luck in the following year.
Watching the Spring Festival Gala Evening
As the Spring Festival is one of the most important traditional festivals in China, lots of full-length theatrical performance will be held, among them the most popular one is the Spring Festival Gala Evening which is held by CCTV. Every year on the Spring Festival eve, the performance will be broadcasted on CCTV-1, CCTV-3, CCTV-4, CCTV-7 and CCTV-NEWS at 20:00pm in different languages such as Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian and so on. Billions of people will watch the show and wait for the New Year to come.
Having Family Reunion Dinner
On Chinese New Year, “eating” often becomes the main activity during the festival. The whole family sit next to the table and have the delicious food together can be regarded as the most important feature of the Chinese Folk New Year. The Chinese saying “Food is the first necessity of man” can best describe this tradition in China.