Chinese Lunar New Year

Ziming Zhou, Reporter

The Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, is a traditional festival passed down by the Chinese nation for more than 4,000 years. The Chinese Lunar New Year has a long history, and its origins contain profound cultural connotations. It carries a rich historical and cultural heritage in its inheritance and development. During the New Year, various activities to celebrate the Spring Festival are held all over the country, with strong regional characteristics and rich and colorful forms, embodying the essence of traditional Chinese culture.

The Lunar New Year is a day to get rid of the old and make a new one. Although the Lunar New Year is set on the first day of the first lunar month, the activities of the Lunar New Year are not limited to the first day of the first lunar month. From the New Year’s Day on the 23rd (or 24th) of the twelfth lunar month, people began to clean the house, wash their hair and bathe, prepare the New Year’s utensils, etc. All these activities have a common theme, that is, “saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new. “New Year’s Eve is one of the most important New Year’s activities. People usually don’t sleep on New Year’s Eve, but they will sit together with their family to look forward to the arrival of the New Year. The origin of this custom is since the Han Dynasty, the time when the new year and the old year alternate is generally in the middle of the night so people think that if they can stay awake when they cross the time period of the new year, they will get more luck in the new year.

Another important custom is to paste the Spring Festival couplets. The Spring Festival couplets depict the background of the times and express good wishes with neat, antithetical, concise, and delicate words. It is a unique literary form in China. Every Spring Festival, whether in urban or rural areas, every household should choose a big red Spring Festival couplet and stick it on the door to add a festive atmosphere to the festival.

For every kid in China, their favorite part during the Lunar New Year must be firecrackers.  There is a saying among Chinese people that “open the door with firecrackers”. That is to say, when the new year comes, the first thing every household does when opening the door is to set off firecrackers, and welcome the new with the sound of firecrackers. Firecrackers are a special product in China with a very early origin and a history of more than 2,000 years. With the passage of time, the application of firecrackers has become more and more extensive, and the varieties and colors have become more and more numerous. Every major festival and celebration, as well as marriage, building, opening, etc., must set off firecrackers to celebrate and hope for auspiciousness.

In today the significance of the Lunar New Year has gone beyond the scope of China.  I hope that one day in the future, the Chinese Lunar New Year can  have a huge influence in western countries, such as the United States, because there will always be many overseas Chinese who cannot go home to reunite with their families for various reasons and can only stay abroad.  So if there is such a day, I believe that all those who cannot go home can also feel the atmosphere of the New Year and look forward to the new year.