Chinese New Year
When people talk about the “holiday season” in the U.S., they typically refer to that period between Thanksgiving dinner and New Year’s Day. In Asia, the most big holiday seanson is The Lunar New Year, most commonly associated with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, typically falls sometime between January 21 and February 20 annually. Lunar New Year 2021 is on February 12, and in terms of the Chinese zodiac animal, it’s the Year of the Ox.
In Taiwan, Chinese New Year is definitely the most important of all of Taiwan’s traditional holidays, and it is also the longest. The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself ancient and obscured by the amount of time. It is popularly recognised as the Spring Festival and celebrations last 15 days. Schools usually get two weeks’ vacation, whereas businesspeople and white collar workers will get a week or less. Technically, though, the public holidays last about a week and stores and places of business usually reopen on the fifth day of the first lunar month.
Lunar New Year
Why it’s called the Lunar New Year?
It’s called the Lunar New Year because it marks the first new moon of the lunisolar calendars traditional to many east Asian countries including China, South Korea, and Vietnam, which are regulated by the cycles of the moon and sun.
A solar year—the time it takes Earth to orbit the sun—lasts around 365 days, while a lunar year, or 12 full cycles of the Moon, is roughly 354 days.” As with the Jewish lunisolar calendar, “a month is still defined by the moon, but an extra month is added periodically to stay close to the solar year.” This is why the new year falls on a different day within that month-long window each year.
For the most part, Chinese New Year is synonymous with three things: the color red, fireworks and stuffed bellies. In the lead up to the festival, you will be encompassed in a maze of red stuff – decorations, gifts, wall hangings, lanterns and of course red envelopes.
There are involves two main themes of before Chinese New Year, First, clearing away all of the previous year’s bad luck. And, second, preparing the how to receive the next year’s good luck, which now let us talk about what you should know of Chinese New Year’s traditional.
Before New Year.
New Year Shopping.
Back in ancient Taiwan, major holidays like Chinese New Year were typically the only times all year when a family would enjoy a feeling of abundance. This provides the context for why, even today, a typical Chinese New Year shopping list overflows with foods such as meat and poultry, fruits and vegetables, rice and flour, alcohol, and symbolic items like incense and candles, calendars, firecrackers and new clothes.
To celebrate the New Year and facilitate the general public to purchase New Year items, the Taipei City government has organized few Taipei New Year Shopping Fairs, also called the Taipei Chinese New Year Street Bazaar. Except the most famous Dihua Street, the Binjiang Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale Market is also a great place to buy and preparate culminates for New Year.
Ahead of every Lunar New Year, Taiwanese households will have a spring clean. Windows will be wiped down, surfaces dusted, and old junk cleared away. The idea is that by getting rid of junk and clutter now, you are making room for good luck in the coming year. By sweeping away the dust, you are clearing away any bad luck that might have accumulated over the previous year.
在每個農曆新年臨近之前，台灣家庭將進行春季大掃除。 窗戶將被擦拭乾淨，表面積滿灰塵，舊垃圾也將被清除。 這個想法是，通過現在擺脫垃圾和混亂，你可以為新的一年運騰出空間。 通過掃除灰塵，你可以清除上一年可能累積的任何厄運。
All of this planning and preparation culminates on New Year’s Eve. With a clean home, a clear mind and a delicious meal on the table, you can welcome the New Year with a crescendo of firecrackers at midnight and days filled with visits from family and friends to follow.
Since a fair chunk of Taipei people come from somewhere else, the roads heading south to be more crowded than the roads heading north. In general, many stores and restaurants will close early today, or not open at all.
New Year's Eve
At Lunar New Year, you have to put up new posters of ”door gods” on front doors and then the family union dinner,If you have family arriving for a traditional reunion dinner later in the day, most of New Year’s Eve will be dedicated to cooking in the kitchen. The menu should be filled with lots of auspicious foods intended to shower wealth, luck and success on the family. The Chinese New Year celebration generally starts with this delicious multi-generational family meal in the evening, which should be at least 10-course meal; however, it is traditional for families to gather and celebrate. Most people will return to their parents’ or grandparents’ home for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, while many will then have to go and visit their in-laws (the spouse’s family) on the second day of the New Year holiday.
After dinner, the family sits up for the night in many different ways. Sometime the parents play mahjong and drink tea, while the kids dressed in new pajamas watch television and play games.
At midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks for welcome the new year, which you won’t sleep through, as the moment will be marked by a cacophony of fireworks.
Fireworks are a huge part of Chinese New Year celebrations, with more rockets set off on that night than on any other night of the year. Over 500 cities in China have actually now either restricted or outright banned fireworks due to safety concerns and air pollution, but they remain an immensely popular part of the New Year celebrations. The tradition comes from a folk tale about a monster named Nian who was scared away using firecrackers.
The one tradition most people are aware of is the giving of red envelopes. Presents are not the done thing at all but envelopes in the lucky color of red containing fresh, new banknotes are.
Children will receive red envelopes from their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Meanwhile, older children are expected to give red envelopes to elderly relatives as a sign of respect and gratitude for the sacrifices they have made to bring them up.
The amount of money they contain is important too. Economic circumstances affect this of course but giving too little or too much can result in offense being taken while certain amounts are considered to bring more good fortune than others.
For example, any sum of money containing a number “4” is out because of the associations this number has with death.
大多數人都知道的一個傳統就是送紅包。 在東方紅色代表喜氣，紅色信封則叫做「紅包」，裡面裝有新鮮的新鈔票。孩子們將收到父母，祖父母，阿姨和叔叔的紅包。 同時，大一點的孩子被期望給年長的親人紅包，以表示對他們為撫養長大而做出的犧牲的尊重和感激。
Of course, common phrase you’ll hear a lot of over the season are variations of the word Gongxi, which is a happy sort of congratulations, conveying with two simple syllables wishes for happiness, prosperity and joy. During the days of Chinese New Year, you’ll hear the phrase from dawn until well after dusk through endless repetition of a song that’s basically the Chinese equivalent of every Christmas song wrapped up in one.
Spring Festival Taboos
Don’t break things
Most people will try to avoid breaking things at the best of times, but this is especially important in Taiwan over Lunar New Year. A breakage over the holiday is said to portend losses, bad luck, or a family rift in the coming year. Something most families definitely want to avoid.
If something does accidentally get broken, you will hear the culprit quickly saying “suisui ping’an (歲歲平安)” which is supposed to negate the bad fortune you may have caused.
Avoid negative words, sharp objects
There is a belief in some Taiwanese households that using sharp objects such as knives and scissors is bad luck over the Lunar New Year holiday. It is thought that they can cut down on your good luck or good fortune.
Some people also try to avoid using any negative words over the course of this holiday too, as these are also seen as causing bad luck. As a result, you can often hear some hilarious verbal gymnastics as people try to say what they mean using euphemisms and work-arounds rather than utter a simple word that has negative connotations.