Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Red lanterns are important during the festivities to ward off the monsters Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Southeast Asia's biggest festival is all set to bring smiles back and families together. This Chinese New Year- learn the unique customs that make the occasion special

Meenketan Jha
February 05 , 2019
04 Min Read

The entirety of Southeast Asia finds itself swamped by the red color as the Chinese New Year (CNY) approaches. Schools and offices close for upto a week with millions traveling across the Chinese mainland so they can celebrate the auspicious occasion with their loved ones. Responsible for the world's largest mass human migration, the festival is joyous event for many even beyond the borders of China. Associated with a range of myths and customs the New Year is a day of new beginnings, ushering of luck, and marks the optimism for an opulent future. Here are some popular traditions from the Chinese New Year which you can also observe for a successful year.

Shanghai Yu Garden during the Chinese New Year


Chinese Zodiacs

12 Chinese zodiacs, 1 for the each year are possibly the most important aspect of the entire occasion. Legends speak of a Jade Emperor who wanted to select 12 animals to be his guard sending a man to spread the message. Each had to pass through a heavenly gate to get a rank. The rat and ox finished first and second after the rat had climbed onto the latter. Just as the ox neared the gate, the rat jumped out and finished first. Following them came the tiger and the rabbit after which the dragon and snake crossed the gate. the horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig finished in the same respective order. 2019 is the year of the pig. The year of birth correlates with zodiac cycle which repeats every 12 years. Personality traits, love compatibility are associated by the zodiac sign. 

Family Feasts

Family members gather for the Chinese New Year celebration dinner.

Food, food, and food. Families travel thousands of kilometers to be each other during this time of the year. According to customs, it is of the highest importance that families have meals together. The CNY is also an auspicious time to introduce your significant other to your family for approval. Thus, industries that provide boyfriends and girlfriends for rent have sprung up. 

Dumplings, Dumplings and More Dumplings

Dumplings are essential components of meals during the Chinese New Year

The CNY is a time for Dumpling love. Though old customs say that one should have dumplings for all their meals, very few can do that. The traditional Chinese cuisine is popular in the north while the south has a soft corner for spring rolls. Many have dumplings as their last meal as New Year Eve's dinner or as their first breakfast. 

Bursting Firecrackers

Setting off firecrackers is one of Chinese New Year's long lasting traditions. The occasion traces its history to a popular legend about a monster named Nian. It is widely believed that Nian would come out every New Year's eve and terrorize villages forcing the locals to hide inside. That is until one brave boy fought him off by using firecrackers. Firecrackers are set off at midnight on CNY's eve and in the morning to welcome the new year and good luck. 

No Showering And Sweeping

Good news for you lazy bums! Showering and sweeping is ill-advised against on the New Year's day to make sure that you wash away good luck. However, there is an entire day dedicated to cleanliness before the beginning of the festival. 

Lucky Color Red

Red lanterns are put up in every Chinese household

A time of getting together of families the CNY is special for the children. From bursting crackers to time off from school, kids can't wait for the festivities to come. The elders give the  young of the house red envelopes carrying money. This specific event as the Chinese believe is a way to transfer the lucky fortune of the elders to their children. 

Everywhere you see, you'll notice the abundance of red. Other than firecrackers the Chinese believe that red keeps the monsters away hence, new red colored clothing will be added to their wardrobes while red lanterns are hung around doors and windows.

Only Positive

No crying, no borrowing, no fighting. The Chinese believe that whatever you do during these two weeks sets the tone for the rest of the year. Unless you want to spend the coming 12 months doing the above, smiling and kindness are your go to things if you want a prosperous year ahead. 

Make your Chinese New Year an enjoyable one with your families. Welcome prosperity and good luck for the upcoming year. 

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