New Year Traditions
It is the Chinese New Year tradition that every family gives its house a thorough cleaning, hoping to sweep away all the ill-fortune there may have been in the family to make way for the wishful in-coming good luck.
People also give their doors and window-panes a new paint, usually in red color. They decorate the doors and windows with paper-cuts and couplets with the very popular theme of "happiness", "wealth", "logevity" and "satisfactory marriage with more children". Paintings of the same theme are put up in the house on top of the newly mounted wallpaper. In the old days, it was a Chinese New year tradition to distribute various kinds of food at the alta of ancestors.
The Eve of the Chinese New Year is very carefully observed. Supper is a feast, with all members coming together. One of the most popular Chinese New year tradition course is "jiaozi”, dumplings boiled in water. "Jiaozi" in Chinese literally mean "sleep together and have sons", a long-lost good wish for a family. After dinner, it is time for the whole family to sit up for the night while having fun playing cards or board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the occasion. It is also a tradition to keep every light on the whole night. At midnight, fireworks will light up the whole sky as people's excitement reach its zenith.
Very early the next morning, children greet their parents and receive their presents in terms of cash wrapped up in red paper packages from them. Then, the family starts out to say greetings from door to door, first to their relatives and then to their neighbors. This Chinese New Year tradition is a great way to reconcile forgetting all old grudges. The air is permeated with warmth and friendliness. During and several days following the New Year's day, people are visiting each other, with a great deal of exchange of gifts.
The New Year atmosphere is brought to an anti-climax fifteen days away when the Festival of Lanterns sets in. It is an occasion of lantern shows and folk dances everywhere. One typical food is the Tang Yuan, another kind of dumplings made of sweet rice rolled into balls and stuffed with either sweet or spicy fillings. This tradition is also specially followed on Chinese New Year time.
The Lantern Festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year season and afterwards life becomes daily routines once again. Traditions of the Chinese New Year vary from place to place, considering that China is a big country not only geographically, but also demographically and ethnically. Yet, the spirit underlying the diverse celebrations of the Chinese New Year is the same: a sincere wish of peace and happiness for the family members and friends.