Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chinese New Year Eve(除夕)

Today is Chinese New Year Eve(除夕); saying goodbye to the old year,year of monkey. Tomorrow 14-2-2010 will begin the Chinese New Year, the first day of the year of tiger. Chinese New Year(农历新年)or Spring Festival(春节) is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the "Lunar New Year" by English speakers. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month (正月) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival(元宵節).

Chinese New Year's Eve is known as chú xī(除夕 or 年三十晚). It literally means "Year-pass Eve". It is the 30th day of the Chinese lunar 12th month.

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar

Shopping for New Year Goods(辦年貨)

Normally one month before the Chinese New Year, all the shops and shopping malls will be starting the Chinese New Year Promotion. This is the time that the Chinese will go for shopping to buy new clothing, new shoes, decoration items, and other Chinese new years good which are durable, but not the food items.

Traveling home or chunyun (春运)

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. This period is called chunyun (春運 or 春运, Pinyin: chūn yùn).

28th day 12th month of Lunar Calendar- Cleaning day(大掃除)

On the days before the New Year celebration Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. There is a Cantonese saying "Wash away the dirt on ninyabaat" (年廿八,洗邋遢), but the practice is not usually restricted on nin'ya'baat (年廿八, 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-frames a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets. Purchasing new clothing, shoes, and receiving a hair-cut also symbolize a fresh start.

Preparing for the New Year

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 Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Taipei, Hong Kong 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.

Shopping for food items

The food items specially fresh food items, e.g. vegetables, meats, seafood, will only be purchased one or 2 days before the New Year Eve. Some will be kept at the frozer, as food preparation will start on the morning of 31st day of the lunar 12th month.

Reunion Dinner(30th day 12th month of lunar calendar)吃團年飯

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. This meal is comparable to Christmas dinner in the West. In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings (jiaozi 饺子) after dinner and have it around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape is like a Chinese tael. By contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a new year cake (Niangao, 年糕) after dinner and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days of the new year. Niangao literally means increasingly prosperous year in year out. After the dinner, some families go to local temples, hours before the new year begins to pray for a prosperous new year by lighting the first incense of the year; however in modern practice, many households hold parties and even hold a countdown to the new lunar year. Beginning in 1982, in China, the CCTV New Year's Gala was broadcast four hours before the start of the New Year.

A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far away, 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: 鱼; traditional Chinese: 魚; pinyin: yú) is included, but not eaten completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase "may there be surpluses every year" (simplified Chinese: 年年有余; traditional Chinese: 年年有餘; pinyin: nián nián yǒu yú) sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."

In Malaysia, a special dish called Yee-sang(鱼生), raw fish salad. Eating this salad is said to bring good luck. This dish is usually eaten on the seventh day of the New Year, but may also be eaten throughout the period. Yee(鱼) means fish, sang(生) means raw, but Yee also having another meaning of abundance(余), and sang have also another meaning of increase(升). So yee-sang is raw fish(鱼生),also means increase in abundance(余升)that means for the new year you will be having increase abundance of good things, including money, luck, businesses,and will be as active as the jumping fish,the higher the better. That is the reason that the salad will pull with chopstick to the highest as possible to denote highest prosperity, highest money returns...good year.

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.

Shou Sui(守岁/守歲)

守岁(守歲) (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.

一夜连双岁,五更分二年 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. 五更 (Wu Geng – the double hour from 0300 to 0500) is the time that separates the two years.

No matter how, it is good for those who are the sons and daughters, to ensure they can come back for reunion dinner, this will make the parent happy.....especially old aged parents.

Happy Chinese New Year(新年快乐);, Gong Xi Fatt Cai(恭喜发财)

No comments:

Post a Comment