Chinese New Year is about to come. The New Year will last around 15 days, and the 1st day is the most important. The 1st day is dedicated to the ancestors and gods. Young people/children make wishes for the elder members to receive red packets filled with money.
In Chinese New Year customs, the child stands in front of the elders and wishes them a wonderful year. The most common phrase to use is “gong xi fa cai,” which means, “Happy New Year and be wealthy.”Â
For the ancestors, food will be on the altar at all times. While eating you should be careful not to break any dishes. The reason is that “breaking” can mean a lot of different things, such as the first sign of bad luck; you will be “broke” for the whole year; a “break” in your relationship; or you may “break” a leg. I think you get the point.
New Year, everybody wishes good things for each other and should not argue. For this reason, children will not get scolded during the New Year. If you are a guest, please, do not use explicit language or the word “four” when speaking. The reason why: the number 4 is a taboo because it sounds like the word “death.”Â For color, you should not wear black or white on New Year. Only wear these colors when something happens to your family, such as at a funeral.
A little side note, if you wear black and white all the time in China, do not be surprised when people ask why you are unhappy.
Another Chinese tradition is that you should not wash your hair on New Year’s Day. The word “xi fa” for “washing hair” sound likes the word “losing wealth.” However, traditionally it is required for you to take a bath and wash your hair before New Year. “Wash” out the old, bring in the new. Also, it is just for personal hygiene (hehe).
To me, the highlight of the first day is the Dragon and Lion dance, which is usually performed by local martial artists. Beginning the year, the Dragon/Lion dance symbolizes scaring away the bad luck and ghosts. So, it is not rare to see some houses having their own Dragon/Lion dance inside. The true dance will involve nine dragons, but that is too costly. Nowadays, you will probably see a pair of dragons at the most. Furthermore, the number nine is considered to be the luckiest number in the Chinese culture.
But, if you really want to see the dance, I would recommend the parade. When you are there and want to feel the excitement, you should the tip the Lion; just a couple of dollars will be fine. After receiving the tip, sometimes the Dragon/Lion will dance for you.
My name is Dat Nguyen. Thank you for taking your time off to read this article. The article comes from a section in Chinese New Year (pt 3). The site is concentrate on helping people to communicate in different culture, all the dos and don’ts, and explain why things the way they are.
You can visit me at this link http://www.culture-4-travel.com/index.html Hope to see you there.