One famous Asian proverb goes, “It is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.” It feels very true when we think about the Chinese New Year celebrations.
In 2019, Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday, February 5. It marks the beginning of a year of the Pig.
One-fourth of humanity worldwide will be celebrating the most important festival in China. The Chinese New Year is also called the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. It is one of the biggest events on earth and Spring Festival holidays are the most important traditional holidays in China. The Chinese people are renowned for their hospitality. But during these holidays, they tend to be even more welcoming as they open their homes to welcome family and friends.
Traveling to China during this period has its own advantages. There are many places to visit in China to watch various cultural activities and experience the festivities, Beijing and Hong Kong immediately come to mind as two culturally important cities of China. There are dragon dances, parades, and many other performances, which could prove to be your once in lifetime experience. But you could also experience overly crowded public transport system that is very common during these holidays due to the mass movement of hundreds of millions of people going back to their homes to see their families and friends.
To avoid the crowds and travel comfortably, you should book your private airport transfer in advance.
But before you start your trip to China, have you ever wondered how the Chinese New Year came about and why it is so important for the Chinese?
According to a mythological story, the Chinese New Year celebration started with a beast called the Nian. He would eat the villagers and children. One year, all the villagers decided to hide from the beast. An old man appeared before the villagers and told them that he would stay in the village that night. He went and hanged red papers and set off firecrackers.
Next day, when the villagers arrived, they saw that nothing in the village was destroyed. So, they assumed that the old man was a deity who came to save them. They also understood that Nian was afraid of red color and the loud noises. From then onwards, the villages started to wear red clothes and hang red lanterns on the new year.
What do people do for Chinese New Year Celebration?
Preparations for the New Year
Usually, the preparations for the new year start a month before. The Little Year will be celebrated from January 28th till February 4th. Every house and building is decorated in red. Red is the main color of the festival. They hang red Chinese lanterns in streets and put red couplets on the doors and windows. Home decoration is done on New Year’s Eve and as 2019 is going to be a year of the pig, much decoration can be seen related to pigs.
The Chinese New Year celebrations begin with welcoming deities of heaven and earth on the first day. It officially begins at midnight. People burn firecrackers and bamboo sticks to ward off evil. It is a time to honor the elders of the family and family reunions. The dinner on the New Year’s Eve is called ‘reunion dinner’ and it is said to be the most important meal of the year. People mainly eat Chinese dumplings and Tangyuan. These dishes symbolize wealth. On this day, children receive lucky money in red envelopes. This year the Spring Festival will be celebrated between February 5th to February 15th.
It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month. This year it will be celebrated from February 16th to February 19th. It marks the final day of the Chinese New Year celebration. Children go out with paper lanterns and solve the riddles on the lanterns.
Chinese people believe that the things that you do at the start of New Year would affect your luck.
Here are a few things that you should avoid when in China for the new year.
Avoid taking medicine
It is a belief that if you take medicine on the first day of the lunar year, you would stay sick for the whole year. The sick people break their medicine pots when the announcement for the new year is done at midnight. This is done with the belief that the custom will drive their illness away.
It is said that if you use a broom on this day, the good fortune is swept away.
Avoid eating meat
Meat is not eaten out of respect for Buddhist Gods. Also, it is said that one could attain longevity by abstaining from eating meat on this day.
Avoid washing clothes and hair
The Chinese do not wash clothes on the first and second day of the new year as it is supposed to be the birthday of the Water God- Shuishen. They also associate hair with wealth and avoid washing hair as it is considered as washing one’s fortune away.
We hope these guidelines help you when you visit China for the new year. And of course, if you are traveling single or you have a large group of friends and family with you, you must consider booking luxurious ground transport for making your visit comfortable and enjoyable, even in the most crowded time in China. Happy Chinese New Year!