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Chinese New Year Tradition (1)

Although some old Chinese new year tradition may seem have faded in the urban life, there are things we still do for today’s Chinese New Year celebration.

Chinese Lunar New Year, also called Spring Festival, is the biggest festival celebrated by Chinese people.

The date of festival is based on the lunar calendar, usually comes between January and February of solar calendar. Traditionally celebrations last for fifteen days, ending on the date of the full moon, which called Lantern Festival.

Here are the things that we do for nowaday’s Chinese New Year celebration.

1. New Year Eve Reunion Food Party  (年夜饭)

Food is always important in Chinese daily life. For Chinese New Year tradition, a big reunion food party is a must have event.

Chinese New Year Food Party
Chinese New Year Eve Reunion Food Party.

Why call it reunion food party? because we think the Spring Festival is the time for people to go home and reunite with the family.

Children are supposed to travel back to see their parents. For those living far away from home, they would join others’ food party to celebrate together.

In our family reunion food party, we always have my mum’s signature dishes for this big festival, such as dumplings, eight treasure rice, “tiger skin” pork bellies, Chinese pine nut fish, sweet sour meat balls, homemade spring rolls and sweet glutinous rice balls, and more… (Oh, dear, I miss them.)

Because I live in the UK I, most time I could not go back home for this festival. This year I joined a food party with my Chinese colleagues. To contribute, everyone made their own dishes and brought to the party. Here is how our party table looks like @_@

Chinese New Year Food Party.

2. Pocket Money (压岁钱)

Apart from food, another good thing to make children happy is the Pocket Money, called Ya Shui Qian (压岁钱) in Chinese.

As a Chinese new year tradition, parents will give this money to their children for being up late at New Year eve. The money is usually put in a red paper bag and placed under the children’s pillow for them to open at the New Year morning.

This is one paper bag for New Year pocket money, red and with a Chinese word " 福 " (means blessing, hapiness and fortunes). 

Chinese New Year Pocket Money Bag.

The children may also get money from their grandparents or other senior relatives during New Year festival.

The money is usually for children not for adult who already can earn money by themselves. But my parents still give me and my brother pocket money. One is because they like to keep the old tradition. Another reason is perhaps because we are always children to them.

With the economic change, the amount for pocket money has been increased. In my memory, it was 100 RMB at 15 years ago. But last year I gave my niece 1000 RMB for her New Year pocket money. No wonder kids love this festival :)

Continue to read Chinese New Year Tradition (2).

(Post: 17/02/13; Update: 27/02/15)

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