The Spring Festival is also called Chinese Lunar New Year. Being one of the traditional Chinese festivals, it is the grandest and most important festival for Chinese people. It is also the time for whole families to get together, which is similar to Christmas for Westerners.
It comes on the first day of Chinese lunar calendar and lasts for almost half of a month. But in folk custom, this traditional holiday lasts from the 23rd day of the twelfth month to the 15th day of the first month (The Lantern Festival) on the lunar calendar.
December 30th (lunar calendar), New Year's Eve ：Family Reunion Dinner
On New Year's Eve, people who work far away will manage to come home, regardless of long-distance travel, so the "Grand Dinner on New Year's Eve" is also called "Family Reunion Dinner". Every family will make the dinner the most sumptuous and ceremonious one in the year. Hostesses will fetch out prepared food and all family members will sit together and make dumplings in harmony. At twelve o'clock, every family will shoot off firecrackers to greet new days and send off old ones.
January 1st (lunar calendar)：Paying a New Year's vist
Following the New Year's Eve is the first day of the Spring Festival, a day for paying a New Year's vist, during which people will be busy in giving best wishes to one another. It is said that people shouldn't dump things on the first day of the new year, so that they would be able to keep whatever worth of fortune they will be in possession of in the next year.
Second day：Birthday of Dog
People say that after being offered sacrifices, Tsai Shen, the God of Wealth, leaves for heaven on the second day of the lunar New Year. In honour of the deity, people will eat wonton, resembling the shape of an ingot.
Traditionally married women will visit and pay respect to their birth parents. On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. Since the day is characterized by the birthday of the dogs, pets and strays will be fed well.
Third day, Birthday of Pig
Families who had an immediate relative deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead. Some people conclude it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all, as it is believed that evil spirits roam the earth this day and hence it would be bad luck to be outdoors.
Fifth day, Birthday of Ox/Cattle：Welcoming the God of Wealth
The day is regarded as the birthday of the God of Wealth and hence respect is paid to the god. In the morning, firecrackers are exploded as a sign of welcoming the God of Wealth. All businesses will be reopened on that day. Sweeping the floor is not considered bad luck anymore. In northern China, people usually eat Jiǎozi (dumplings) on that day. Friends and classmates will be visited.
Seventh day, Birthday of Men
The seventh day of the first lunar month is named renri (人日), literally meaning Human Day. It is considered to be the birthday of ordinary, or common men. The day is also called Day of Men or Men Day.
Fifteenth day, The Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival, also called Yuanxiao Festival, is celebrated on January 15th of the lunar calendar. It is the first full moon night in the Chinese lunar year, symbolizing the coming back of the spring. The Lantern Festival may be regarded as the last day of the Spring Festival period. It is a good day for family get-togethers.
According to the folk custom of China, people on that night will light up fancy lanterns and go out to appreciate the moon, set off fireworks, guess riddles written on lanterns, and eat rice glue balls to celebrate the festival.
In folk culture, celebrating the Lunar New Year is also called “guonian” (literally meaning “passing a year”). It is said that the “nian” (year) was a fierce and cruel monster, and every day, it ate one kind of animal including human beings. Human beings were naturally scared and had to hide on the evening when the “nian” came out. Later, people found that the monster was afraid of the red color and fireworks. So after that, people used the red color and fireworks or firecrackers to drive away “nian”. As a result, the custom has remained to this day.
新 春 佳 节
传统中国节日：traditional Chinese festival
除夕：Lunar New Year's Eve
春节：the Spring Festival
正月初一：Lunar New Year's Day
元宵节：the Lantern Festival
正月：the first month of the lunar year
二月二：Dragon Heads-raising Day
传 统 习 俗
喝腊八粥：eat Laba porridge
扫尘：sweep the dust
祭灶：offer sacrifices to the God of Kitchen
拜年： pay a New Year's call
祭祖：offer sacrifices to one's ancestors
祭财神：worship the God of Wealth
春联：Spring Festival couplets
贴倒福：paste the Chinese character "Fu" upside down
去晦气：get rid of the ill-fortune
辞旧岁：bid farewell to the old year
阖 家 团 圆
吃团圆饭：have a family reunion dinner
年夜饭：New Year's Eve dinner
办年货：do Spring Festival shopping
敬酒：propose a toast
穿新衣：wear new clothes
压岁钱：gift money；money given to children as a Lunar New Year gift
春 节 美 食
年糕：rice cake；New Year cake
饺子：dumplings；Chinese meat ravioli
汤圆：dumplings made of sweet rice
八宝饭：eight-treasure rice pudding (steamed glutinous rice with bean paste, lotus seeds, preserved fruit, etc.)
糖莲子：candied lotus seed
蜜冬瓜：candied winter melon
瓜子：red melon seeds
冰糖葫芦：candied haws on a stick
民 间 艺 术
年画：New Year painting
秧歌：Yongko dance；rural folk dance
娱 乐 活 动
春节联欢晚会：Spring Festival gala
灯会：exhibit of lanterns
送贺卡：send New Year's greeting cards
理发：have a haircut
放烟花：set off fireworks
放鞭炮：set off firecrackers
灯谜：riddles written on lanterns
各 路 神 仙
门神：the God of Door
灶神：the God of Kitchen
财神：the God of Wealth
土地爷：the God of Land
火神：the God of Fire
喜神：the God of Happiness
福禄寿三星：the three gods of fortune, prosperity and longevity
八仙：the Eight Immortals
Treasures fill the home
Peace all year round
Wishing you prosperity
Harmony brings wealth
May all your wishes come true
Everything goes well
The country flourishes and people live in peace
Money and treasures will be plentiful
Wishing you every success Promoting to a higher position
Safe trip wherever you go
Wish you happiness and prosperity in the coming year!
Wish you success in your career and happiness of your family!
May the joy of New Year be with you throughout the year.
Peace and love for you at New Year from all your students.
Wishing you a sparkling New Year and bright happy New Year! May the season bring much pleasure to you.
Wishing you all the blessings of a beautiful New Year season.