Having reunion dinners, eating dumplings, staying up all night, setting off firecrackers and other activities are the most popular customs of the Spring Festival. Besides, visiting relatives, gifts are also exchanged during the first days of the festival.
The most important food during Chinese New Year is the dumpling (jiaozi). Made with flour and stuffed with different fillings, dumplings are usually eaten on the Eve. Because their shape resembles the Yuanbao (a kind of money used in ancient times), dumplings are eaten to bring wealth in the coming year. People wrap coins, candy, peanuts, or chestnuts in some of the dumplings to express different blessing for example a coin for wealth, candy for sweet life, peanuts for health and longevity, and chestnuts for vigor. It is also a custom in many parts of China to eat dumplings on Jan. 1st and Jan. 15th of lunar calendar.
Pasting the “Fu”
The character “Fu”, meaning good fortune or happiness, is used to express people’s good wishes and yearning for the future, so people usually paste it gates or some furniture in the house during the Chinese New Year. Pasting the “Fu” upside down, meaning the arrival of happiness or good fortune, is a widely accepted and popular custom among Chinese people. Other auspicious characters and patterns are added to express good wishes.
Chinese Red Envelope
Red envelopes, also called red packets, lucky money, or hongbao in Chinese, are a popular monetary gift given on some important occasions or festivals in China and some other Asian countries, especially widely seen during the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). It is a Chinese New Year gift with money stuffed into red paper to kids. The red packets are usually presented by parents and grandparents to children during Chinese New Year, which is probably one of the most recognized traditions that are observed during the Festival.
Paper-cut artwork – a monkey holding a peach indicates the longevity of the senior.Paper-cut is a very distinctive visual art of Chinese handicrafts. It originated from the 6th century when women used to paste golden and silver foil cuttings onto their hair at the temples, and men used them in sacred rituals. Later, they were used during festivals to decorate gates and windows. After hundreds of years’ development, now they have become a very popular means of decoration among country folk, especially women.
The main cutting tools are simple: paper and scissors or an engraving knife, but clever and deft craftspeople are remarkably good at cutting in the theme of daily life. When you look at items made in this method carefully, you will be amazed by the true to life expressions of the figure’s sentiment and appearance, or portrayal of natural plants and animals’ diverse gestures. Patterns of chrysanthemum display the curling petals, pied magpies show their tiny feathers and others such as a married daughter returning to her parents’ home, or young people paying a New Year call to their grandparents.