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Chinese New Year, Its Customs And Traditions

Chinese New Year, Its Customs And Traditions

Write: Paul [2011-05-20]

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Ch nji ), or the Lunar New Year (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: N ngl x nni n), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an important holiday in East Asia. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: ; pinyin: zh ng yu ) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called the Lantern festival (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: yu nxi oji ).

Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Ch x ( ). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "Eve".

Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had a strong influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. In Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and other countries with significant Chinese populations, Chinese New Year is also celebrated, largely by overseas Chinese, but it is not part of the traditional culture of these countries.

Chinese New Year's Eve in Meizhou, China

Also called Lunar New Year, Spring Festival
Observedby Mainly East Asian civilizations.
Type Chinese,Cultural, Buddhist
Significance The first day of the Chinese calendar (lunar calendar)
2007 date February 18
2008 date February 7
2009 date January 26
Celebrations Dragon dances/Lion dances, fireworks, family gathering, family meal, visiting friends and relatives ( ), Giving red envelopes, decorating with duilian ( ).


*1 New Year dates
*2 History
*3 Mythology
*4 Public holiday
*5 Chunyun ( )
*6 Festivities
o6.1 Days before the new year
o6.2 First day of the new year
o6.3 Second day of the new year
o6.4 Third and fourth days of the new year
o6.5 Fifth day of the new year
o6.6 Seventh day of the new year
o6.7 Ninth day of the new year
o6.8 Fifteenth day of the new year
*7 New year cuisine
o7.1 Reunion dinner
o7.2 Food items
*8 New Year practices
o8.1 Red packets
o8.2 New Year markets
o8.3 Fireworks
+ 8.3.1 Firecracker ban
o8.4 Clothing
o8.5 Shou Sui
o8.6 Symbolism
o8.7 Flowers
o8.8 Icons and ornamentals
*9 Superstitions during the New Year period
o9.1 Good luck
o9.2 Bad luck
*10 New Year parades
o10.1 Origins
o10.2 Today
*11 Greetings
o11.1 Happy New Year
o11.2 Congratulations and be prosperous
o11.3 Other greetings

New Year dates

The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines Chinese New Year dates. The calendar is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by Han culture (notably the Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese) and may have a common ancestry with the similar New Years festivals outside East Asia (such as Iran, and historically, the Bulgars lands).

Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the new year containing a new moon (some sources include New Year's Eve)[citation needed] and ends on the Lantern Festival fourteen days later. This occurs around the time of the full moon as each lunation is about 29.53 days in duration. In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20. This means that the holiday usually falls on the second (very rarely third) new moon after the winter solstice. In traditional Chinese Culture, lichun is a solar term marking the start of spring, which occurs about February 4.

The dates for the Spring Festival from 1996 to 2019 (in the Gregorian calendar) are at the right, along with the year's presiding animal zodiac and its earthly branch. The names of the earthly branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems. Each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The elements are rotated every two years while a yin and yang association alternates every year. The elements are thus distinguished: Yang Wood, Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc. These produce a combined cycle that repeats every 60 years. For example, the year of the Yang Fire Rat occurred in 1936 and in 1996, 60 years apart.

Many confuse their Chinese birth-year with their Gregorian birth-year. As the Chinese New Year starts in late January to mid February, the Chinese year dates from 1 January until that day in the new Gregorian year remain unchanged from the previous Gregorian year. For example, the 1989 year of the snake began on 6 February 1989. The year 1990 is considered by some people to be the year of the horse. However, the 1989 year of the snake officially ended on 26 January 1990. This means that anyone born from January 1 to January 25, 1990 was actually born in the year of the snake rather than the year of the horse.

Many online Chinese Sign calculators do not account for the non-alignment of the two calendars, incorrectly using Gregorian-calendar years rather than official Chinese New Year dates.

Rat ZiFebruary 19, 1996February 7, 2008
Ox ChouFebruary 7, 1997January 26, 2009
Tiger YinJanuary 28, 1998February 14, 2010
Rabbit MaoFebruary 16, 1999February 3, 2011
Dragon ChenFebruary 5, 2000January 23, 2012
Snake SiJanuary 24, 2001February 10, 2013
Horse WuFebruary 12, 2002January 31, 2014
Sheep WeiFebruary 1, 2003February 19, 2015
Monkey ShenJanuary 22, 2004February 8, 2016
Rooster YouFebruary 9, 2005January 28, 2017
Dog XuJanuary 29, 2006February 16, 2018
Pig HaiFebruary 18, 2007February 5, 2019

Red couplets and red lanterns are displayed on the door frames and light up the atmosphere. The air is filled with strong Chinese emotions. In stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and other cities, products of traditional Chinese style have started to lead fashion trend[s]. Buy yourself a Chinese-style coat, get your kids tiger-head hats and shoes, and decorate your home with some beautiful red Chinese knots, then you will have an authentic Chinese-style Spring Festival.


It is unclear when the beginning of the year was celebrated before the Qin Dynasty. Traditionally, the year was said to have begun with month 1 during the Xia Dynasty, month 12 during the Shang Dynasty, and month 11 during the Zhou Dynasty. However, records show that the Zhou Dynasty began its year with month 1. Intercalary months, used to keep the lunar calendar synchronized with the sun, were added after month 12 during both the Shang Dynasty (according to surviving oracle bones) and the Zhou Dynasty (according to Sima Qian). The first Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang changed the beginning of the year to month 10 in 221 BC, also changing the location of the intercalary month to after month 9. Whether the New Year was celebrated at the beginning of month 10, of month 1, or both is unknown. In 104 BC, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty established month 1 as the beginning of the year, where it remains.


Hand-painted Chinese New Year's poetry
pasted on the sides of doors leading to people's
homes, Lijiang, Yunnan, China.

According to legend, in ancient China, the Ni n ( ) was a man-eating beast from the mountains (in other versions from under the sea), which came out every 12 months somewhere close to winter to prey on humans. The people later believed that the Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the colour red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the colour red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations. Gu ni n (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ), which means to celebrate the new year, literally means the passover of the Nian.

Public holiday

Chinese New Year is observed as a public holiday in a number of countries and territories where a sizable Chinese population resides. Since Chinese New Year falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar every year on different days of the week, some of these governments opt to shift working days in order to accommodate a longer public holiday. Also like many other countries in the world, a statutory holiday is added on the following work day when the New Year falls on a weekend.

It is also important to understand that informal celebrations, which may span a period of several weeks before and after the official holidays, are the time when many businesses operate in 'holiday mode', and generally aren't the time for making decisions or business negotiations.

Mainland ChinaThe first three days.
Hong Kong and MacauThe first three days. If one of the first three days is onSunday, Chinese New Year's Eve will be listed into public holiday. For example, the first day of year 2007 (18 February) is on Sunday, Chinese New Year's Eve (17 February) is listed into public holiday.
Malaysia and SingaporeThe first two days. Sometimes the third day.
TaiwanThe New Year's eve and the first three days.
Brunei and IndonesiaThe first day.
South KoreaThe first day and the previous and following days (three days altogether) are public holidays to commemorate Seollal.
VietnamNew Year's eve and the first three days. The Vietnamese celebrate T t, on the same day as the Chinese calendar. However, because of the time difference between Hanoi and Beijing (China), T t may differ from the Chinese calendar by a day every 22nd or 23rd year.
JapanThe Japanese now celebrate their New Year (sh gatsu) on 1 January, with the first three days being holidays.
OtherA few countries around the world regularly issue postage stamps and numismatic coins to commemorate Chinese New Year. Although Chinese New Year is not institutionalized as public holiday, these countries recognize the significant number of their citizens who are of Chinese origin. The countries and territories that do so include Australia, Canada, Christmas Island, El Salvador, France, New Zealand, the United States, and the Philippines.

Chunyun ( )

The period around Chinese New Year is also the time of the largest human migration, when migrant workers in China, as well as overseas Chinese around the world travel home to have reunion dinners with their families on Chinese New Year's eve. More interurban trips are taken in mainland China in this 40-day period than the total population of China.


The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visits to kin, relatives and friends, a practice known as "new-year visits" (Chinese: ; pinyin: b ini n). New clothings are usually worn to signify a new year. The colour red is liberally used in all decorations. Red packets are given to juniors and children by the married and elders. See Symbolism below for more explanation.

All these festivities may vary from region to region and from family to family.

Days before the new year

On the days before the New Year celebration Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. There is a Cantonese saying "Wash away the dirts on nianyiba"( ), but the practice is not usually restricted on nianyiba( , the 28th day of month 12). It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-panes a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets.

The biggest event of any Chinese New Year's Eve is the dinner every family will have. A dish consisting of fish will appear on the tables of Chinese families. It is for display for the New Year's Eve dinner. In northern China, it is also customary to have dumplings for this dinner. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape is like a Chinese gold nugget. This is comparable to Christmas dinner in the West, except with much more food.

Chinese New Year fireworks in
Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

First day of the new year

The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year's Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the day before.

Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.

Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Lunar New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. People also give red packets containing cash to junior members of the family, mostly children.

While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular, some regions have banned them due to concerns over fire hazards, which have resulted in increased number of fires around New Years and challenged municipal fire departments' work capacity. For this reason, various city governments (e.g., Hong Kong, and Beijing, for a number of years) issued bans over fireworks and firecrackers in certain premises of the city. As a substitute, large-scale fireworks have been launched by governments in cities like Hong Kong to offer citizens the experience.

Incense is burned at the graves of
ancestors as part of the offering and prayer ritual.

Second day of the new year

The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently. On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs.

Third and fourth days of the new year

The third and fourth day of the Chinese New Year are generally accepted as inappropriate days to visit relatives and friends due to the following schools of thought. People may subscribe to one or both thoughts.

1) It is known as "ch k u" ( ), meaning that it is easy to get into arguments. It is suggested that the cause could be the fried food and visiting during the first two days of the New Year celebration.

2) Families who had an immediate kin 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.

Fifth day of the new year

In northern China, people eat Ji ozi (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ) (dumplings) on the morning of Po Wu ( ). This is also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth. In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re-open on this day, accompanied by firecrackers.

Seventh day of the new year

The seventh day, traditionally known as renri , the common man's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older.

It is the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten. This is a custom primarily among the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore. People get together to toss the colourful salad and make wishes for continued wealth and prosperity.

For many Chinese Buddhists, this is another day to avoid meat.

Chinese New Year's celebrations, }
on the eighth day, in the Vancouver
suburb of Richmond, British Columbia,

Ninth day of the new year

The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven ( ) in the Taoist Pantheon.

This day is especially important to Hokkiens (Min Nan speakers). Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, the Hokkiens will offer thanks giving prayers to the Emperor of Heaven. Offerings will include sugarcane as it was the sugarcane that had protected the Hokkiens from certain extermination generations ago. Tea is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honoured person.

Fifteenth day of the new year

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yu nxi o ji ( ), otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect. RicedumplingsTangyuan (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: t ngyu n), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.

This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

New year cuisine

Reunion dinner

A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far, get together for the celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes chicken and fish. In some areas, fish (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: y ) is included, but not eaten completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase "may there be surpluses every year" (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: ni n ni n y u y ) sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."

Niangao, Chinese New Year cake

In mainland China, many families will banter whilst watching the CCTV New Year's Gala in the hours before midnight.

Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability. Several foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune. Several of the Chinese food names are homophones for words that also mean good things.

Food Items

Buddha's delight
(traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin:lu h n zh i)
An elaborate vegetarian dish served by Chinese families on the eve and the first day of the New Year. A type of black hair-like moss, pronounced "fat choy" in Cantonese, is also featured in the dish for its name, which sounds like "prosperity". Hakkas usually servekiu nyuk(Chinese: ; pinyin:k ur u) andngiong tiu fu.
FishIs usually eaten on the eve of Chinese New Year. The pronunciation of fish ( y ) makes it a homophone for "surpluses"( y ).
Jau gok (Chinese: )The main Chinese new year dumpling. It is believed to resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin:j n yu n b o)
Jiaozi dumplingsEaten traditionally in northern China because the preparation is similar to packaging luck inside the dumpling, which is later eaten.
Mandarin orangesMandarin oranges are the most popular and most abundant fruit during Chinese New Year jin ju(Chinese: ; pinyin:j n j zi) orkam(Chinese: ; pinyin:gum) in Cantonese.
Melon seed/Kwatji
(Chinese: ; pinyin:gw zi)
Other variations include sunflower and pumpkin seeds
Nian gao (Chinese: )Most popular in eastern China (Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai) because its pronunciation is a homophone for "a more prosperous year".
NoodlesFamilies may serve uncut noodles, which represent longevity and long life, though this practice is not limited to the new year.
SweetsSweets and similar dried fruit goods are stored in a red or black Chinese candy box.
Taro cakes
TikoyKnown as Chinese New Year pudding, tikoy is made up of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar. The colour of the sugar used determines the colour of the pudding (white or brown).
Turnip cakes

New Year practices

Red packets

Traditionally, Red envelopes or red packets (Cantonese: lai shi or lai see) ( , or ); (Mandarin: 'h ng b o' ( ); Hokkien: 'ang pow' (POJ: ng-pau); Hakka: 'fung bao'; are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is common for adults to give red packets to children. Red packets are also known as / (Ya Sui Qian, which was evolved from / , literally, the money used to suppress or put down the evil spirit ) during this period.

The red envelopes always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. The amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals ( : Bai Jin). Since the number 4 is considered bad luck, because the word for four is a homophone for death, money in the red envelopes never adds up to $4. However, the number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.

Note: in this situation, odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit, rather than the last. Thirty and fifty, for example, are odd numbers, and are thus appropriate as funeral cash gifts. Having said that, it is also more common and quite acceptable to have cash gifts in a red packet using a single bank note e.g. ten or fifty yuan bills are being used frequently.

The act of requesting for red packets is normally called (Mandarin): , . (Cantonese): . A married person could not turn down such request as it means that this person would be "out of luck" in the new year ( )

Shoppers at a New Year market in
Chinatown, Singapore

New Year markets

Markets are set up near the New Year especially for vendors to sell New Year-related products. These usually open-air markets feature floral products, toys, clothing, for shoppers to buy gifts for new year visitations as well as decor for their homes. The practice of shopping for the perfect plum tree is not dissimilar to the Western tradition of buying a Christmas tree.


Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. In modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season. Firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string so it can be hung down. Each firecracker is rolled up in red papers, as red is auspicious, with gunpowders in its core. Once ignited, the firecracker lets out a loud popping noise and as they are usually strung together by the hundreds, the firecrackers are known for its deafening explosions that it is thought to scare away evil spirits. See also Myths above. The lighting of firecrackers also signifies a joyous occasion and has become an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations.

Firecracker ban

The use of firecrackers, although a traditional part of celebration, has over the years witnessed many unfortunate outcomes. There have been reported incidents every year of users of fireworks being blinded, losing body parts, or suffering other grievous injuries, especially during festive seasons. Hence, governments and authorities eventually enacted laws completely banning the use of firecrackers privately, primarily because of safety issues.

* Mainland China - Firecrackers are banned in many urban areas, although Beijing lifted a decade-old ban in 2007, and the rules are not always enforced. In rural areas, they remain very popular, and streets are often carpeted red by the remnants of firecrackers.

* Hong Kong - Fireworks are banned for security reasons some speculate a connection between firework use and the 1967 Leftist Riot. The colonial government before 1997 and the SAR government after 1997, however, do put on a fireworks display in Victoria Harbour on the second day of the Chinese New Year. Similar displays are also held in many other cities in and outside China.

* Singapore - a partial ban on firecrackers was imposed in March 1970 after a fire killed six people and injured 68. This was extended to a total ban in August 1972, after an explosion that killed two people and an attack on two police officers attempting to stop a group from letting off firecrackers in February 1972.However, in 2003, the government allowed firecrackers to be set off during the festive season. At the Chinese New Year light-up in Chinatown, at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the Lunar New Year, firecrackers are set off under controlled conditions by the Singapore Tourism Board. Other occasions where firecrackers are allowed to be set off are determined by the tourism board or other government organizations. However, they are not allowed to be commercially sold.

* Malaysia - firecrackers were banned for the same reason as Singapore. However, many Malaysians managed to smuggle them from Thailand to meet their private needs.

* Indonesia - Firecrackers and fireworks were forbidden to be performed in public during the Chinese New Year, especially in areas with significant non-Chinese population in order to avoid any conflict between the two. However, there were some exceptions. The usage of firecrackers were legal in some metropolitan areas such as Jakarta and Medan, where the degree of racial and cultural tolerance was considerably high.

* United States - For 2007, New York City lifted its decade-old ban on firecrackers, allowing a display of 300,000 firecrackers to be set off in Chinatown's Chatham Square.


Clothing mainly featuring the colour red is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it is believed that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year.

Shou Sui

( ) (Shou Sui) occurs when members of the family gather around throughout the night after the reunion dinner and reminisce about the year that has passed while welcoming the year that has arrived. Some believe that children who Shou Sui will increase the longevity of the parents.

means that the night of New Year's eve (which is also the morning of the first day of the New Year) is a night that links two years. (Wu Geng the double hour from 0300 to 0500) is the time that separates the two years.


During these 15 days of the Chinese New Year one will see superstitious or traditional cultural beliefs with meanings which can be puzzling in the eyes of those who do not celebrate this occasion. There is a customary reason that explains why everything, not just limited to decorations, are centered on the colour red. At times, gold is the accompanying colour for reasons that are already obvious. One best and common example is the red diamond-shaped posters with the character (pinyin: f ), or "auspiciousness" which are displayed around the house and on doors. This sign is usually seen hanging upside down, since the Chinese word (pinyin: d o), or "upside down", sounds similar as (pinyin: d o), or "arrive". Therefore, it symbolizes the arrival of luck, happiness, and prosperity.


The following are popular floral decorations for the New Year and are available at new year markets.

Floral DecorMeaning
Plum blossomsymbolizes luck
Kumquatsymbolizes prosperity
Narcissussymbolizes prosperity
Chrysanthemumsymbolizes longevity
BambooA plant used for any time of year
Sunflowermeans to have a good year

Icons and ornamentals

FishThe Koi Fish is usually seen in paintings. Decorated food depicting the fish can also be found. It symbolizessurplusorhaving additional savingsso as to have more than enough to live throughout the remaining year. It coheres with the Chinese idiom (Pinyin: ni nni n y uy )
YuanbaoingotsThe goldyuanbao( ; j n yu nb o) symbolizes money and/or wealth.Yuanbaoshaped ingots were the standard medium of exchange in ancient China.
LanternsThese lanterns differ from those of Mid Autumn Festival in general. They will be red in colour and tend to be oval in shape. These are the traditional Chinese paper lanterns. Those lanterns, used on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year for the Lantern Festival, are bright, colourful, and in many different sizes and shapes.
DecorationsDecorations generally convey a New Year greeting. They are not advertisements. Chinese caligraphy posters show Chinese idioms. Other decorations include a New year picture, Chinese knots, and papercutting and couplets.
Lion danceLion dances are common during Chinese New Year. It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the lion dancing aggressively can evict bad or evil spirits. Lion dances are also popular for opening of businesses in Hong Kong.
Fortune godsCai Shen, Che Kung,etc.

Superstitions during the New Year period

The following is a list of beliefs that vary according to dialect groups / individuals.

Good luck
Opening windows and/or doors is considered to bring in the good luck of the new year.
Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to 'scare away' ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year.
Sweets are eaten to ensure the consumer a "sweet" year.
It is important to have the house completely clean from top to bottom before New Year's Day for good luck in the coming year. (however, as explained below, cleaning the house after New Year's Day is frowned upon)
Some believe that what happens on the first day of the new year reflects the rest of the year to come. Asians will often gamble at the beginning of the year, hoping to get luck and prosperity.
Wearing a new pair of slippers that is bought before the new year, because it means to step on the people who gossip about you.
The night before the new year, bathe yourself in pomelo leaves and some say that you will be healthy for the rest of the new year.

Bad luck
Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck amongst some Chinese. The word "shoes" is a homophone for the word for "rough" in Cantonese, or "evil" in Mandarin.
Buying a pair of pants is considered bad luck. The word "pants"(k ) is a homophone for the word for "bitter"(k ) in Cantonese. (Although some perceive it to be positive, as the word 'pants'(fu) in Cantonese is also a homophone for the word for "wealth".)
Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one's own luck (although modern hygienic concerns take precedence over this tradition)
Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year.
Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious as well.
Buying books is bad luck because the word for "book" is a homonym to the word "lose".
Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional funeral colour.

New Year parades


In 1849, with the discovery of gold and the ensuing California Gold Rush, over 50,000 people had come to San Francisco to seek their fortune or just a better way of life. Among those were many Chinese, who had come to work in the gold mines and on the railroad. By the 1860 s, the Chinese were eager to share their culture with those who were unfamiliar with it. They chose to showcase their culture by using a favorite American tradition the Parade. Nothing like it had ever been done in their native China. They invited a variety of other groups from the city to participate, and they marched down what today are Grant Avenue and Kearny Street carrying colourful flags, banners, lanterns, and drums and firecrackers to drive away evil spirits.


Today, Chinese New Year parades are annual traditions across North America in cities with significant Chinese populations. Among the cities with such parades are San Francisco,[7] Los Angeles,[8] New York City, and Vancouver, British Columbia.[9] However, even smaller cities that are historically connected to Chinese immigration, such as Butte, Montana,[10] have recently hosted parades.


The Chinese New Year is often accompanied by loud, enthusiastic greetings, often referred to as (J xi ngh a), or loosely translated as auspicious words or phrases. Some of the most common examples may include:

Happy New Year

simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: X nni n ku il ; Hokkien POJ: Sin-n kh ai-lo k; Cantonese: San nin faai lok. A more contemporary greeting reflective of western influences, it literally translates from the greeting "Happy new year" more common in the west. But in northern parts of China, traditionally people say simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Guo Nian Hao instead of simplified Chinese: , to differentiate it from the international new year. And can be used from the first day to the fifth day of Chinese new year.

Congratulations and be prosperous

Kung Hei Fat Choi at Lee
Theatre Plaza, Hong Kong

Kung Hei Fat Choi at Lee Theatre Plaza, Hong Kongsimplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: G ngx f c i; Hokkien Keong hee huat chye (POJ: Kiong-h hoat-ch i); Cantonese: Kung Hei Fat Choi; Hakka: Kung hei fat choi, which loosely translates to "Con