Hello Everyone! Happy Chinese Lunar New Year!
As you all know, it does not matter whether the Chinese people are in China or abroad, they have the tradition to celebrate the Lunar New Year no matter what, and it applies for me as well!
The Lunar New Year is also called the Spring Festival or in Chinese chūnjié (春节). It occurs on different dates every year and this year, it fell on February 8th. From the first night, Chinese people will start to schedule nights to offer dinner for relatives, and it ends on the January 15th on the Chinese calendar. In past times, most Chinese families prepare the meal in their homes. Nowadays, for convenience, dinner locations have been changed from houses to restaurants. Families and relatives gather together in one city which has a meaning of family reunion and it is still very important to Chinese people. During New Year, there are three things that Chinese people do no matter where they are: dinner on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s visits, and gift money. Although fireworks are also considered as a symbol of the Chinese New Year, in Europe we don’t really do it.
Dinner on New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve for this year is February 7th. As mentioned before, there is a big dinner on that day. There are a couple dishes that you will see on every table because they have different blessing meanings: rice cake (taller every year or achieving a higher position), rice balls (reunion), and fish (over the year, you always have something left; enough to be spare). If you are in Europe, the main dishes stay the same but it is now combined with some European dishes.
New Year’s visits
New Year’s visits are a big event during New Year for most of Chinese, including for my family. Normally, my whole family goes back to China to visit my grandparents, my parent’s sisters and brothers, and some close friends. Usually, when we go to visit a family, we will bring some rice cakes, something related to the color red (it has an auspicious meaning), and especially red packets. We stay in that family for couple of hours just chatting.
Gift money (Red Packets)
People might ask, what are “Red Packets” exactly? “Red Packets” are cash put in a red special envelope meaning to live forever long. Usually, parents give “Red Packets” to their children or adults give them to their retired parents. Nowadays, the meaning of “Red Packets” might remain the same, but it also shows a manner of filial piety. The amount of money in the red envelope really depends on the individuals but they must be put in a red Chinese envelope.
I wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year! Hope you get to experience the Chinese New Year somehow one day!