Traditional customs for Spring Festival 最地道的过年习俗：从小年到元宵
December 23 of Chinese Lunar Calendar (Little New Year)
Custom: Worshiping the Kitchen God
As the legend goes, there is a kitchen god in each house who is responsible for the kitchen and oversees the conduct of the family. On this day, the kitchen god returns to Heaven to report the conducts of the family to the Emperor of Heaven. Therefore, worshipping the kitchen god aims to "please him." People put out some sweet and sticky foods, such as rice dumplings and malted sugar. In this way, the lips of the kitchen god will stuck together, and he cannot report any wrong doings of the family. Thus the family can lead an auspicious life.
December 24 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
After worshipping the kitchen god, people begin to thoroughly clean their houses to sweep away bad luck and welcome good luck. Dusting shows the good wish of putting away old things and welcoming a new life, making everything look fresh in the new year.
December 25 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Pasting Window Paper and Making Tofu
The times for pasting window paper are gone. Nowadays, the tradition is replaced by cleaning windows. Tofu is homophonic with "Toufu (first fortune of the year)", so it is considered as a good food which brings happiness.
December 26 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Preparation of Meat and Shopping for the Spring Festival
When there was insufficient food in the past, the majority of ordinary people could enjoy a comparatively lavish feast only during the Spring Festival. Besides meat and fish, people also start to purchase cigarettes, wines, fruits, gifts and festive ornaments on the day.
December 27 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Bathing and Going to the Market
According to the traditional folk customs of the Han ethnic group, people should take a bath and wash their clothes to get rid of bad luck from the past year and welcome the new year. Besides, people also go shopping to enjoy the exciting atmosphere of the Spring Festival in advance.
December 28 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Leavening Dough and Pasting Spring Couplets
Besides meat and side dishes, people also prepare cooked wheaten food for the Spring Festival. People in north China mainly eat noodles. They leaven dough, steam buns or cook noodles during the Spring Festival. Today, people also paste spring couplets andnew year paintings. With concise texts and festive patterns, people show their welcome for the Spring Festival. In addition, these activities indicate that the Spring Festival begins.
December 29 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Paying Tribute to Ancestors
Preparation for the Spring Festival should be completed today, the day before New Year`s Eve. Worshipping ancestors is the major event on this day, by which people express their gratitude and yearning for their ancestors.
December 30 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
December 30 of Chinese lunar calendar, also called "Chuxi" (Chinese New Year`s Eve), is the last day of the year according to the lunar calendar. It means saying goodbye to the last year and welcoming the new year. Chuxi is to Chinese people what Christmas Eve is to Westerners. And it`s also the climax of the whole Spring Festival. There are many customs in every period of time on this special day and those customs have been well observed for thousands of years.
January 1 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: New-Year Visits and Collecting Fortune
Visiting relatives is still considered a major event on the first day of the first Lunar month. Also, it is the birthday of "broom", so it is taboo to use broom or take out trash, otherwise, you might sweep away good fortunes and suffer financial losses.
January 2 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Married Daughters Return to Parents’ Home
Married daughters visit their parents with their husbands on this day, so this day is also called "welcome son-in-law day". The couple must bring some gifts and red envelopes along with them, and give them to children from the wife’s side of the family. They have to return husband’s family before dinner.
January 3 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Staying at Home
According to custom, people should not pay visits to others on the third day of the first lunar month as it is very likely to quarrel with others on this day. However, this has already become obsolete. It is a rare opportunity for people to get reunited during the Spring Festival, so less and less people follow this tradition.
January 4 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Worshiping the God of Wealth
It is the day for worshipping the God of Wealth. In the past, if an employee was not invited to worship the God of Wealth with the boss, he/she had to resign according to the unwritten rule.
January 5 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Breaking Five
It is the day to "drive away five ghosts of poverty" (Poverty in intelligence, knowledge, literacy, fate, and friendship). People light firecrackers in the morning from inside to outside of their houses to scare away all the "ghosts".
January 6 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Opening for Business
After lighting firecrackers, shops reopen for business on this day. It is said that boys of the age of 12 are the most welcomed as the number of "12" as double of "6", which means "everything will go well smoothly".
January 15 of Chinese Lunar Calendar
Custom: Having Sweet Dumplings and Lighting Sky Lanterns
As the first full moon night in the new year, the fifteenth day is also called Lantern Festival, named after the long-time tradition of appreciating lanterns. One should not miss Yuanxiao, glutinous rice dumplings, often stuffed with white sugar, rose petals, sesames and so on. The stuffing and round shape symbolize sweet life and reunion. Lantern Festival draws the curtain of the entire Chinese New Year celebration.
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