春节 also known as Chinese new year or Spring Festival is just around the corner and people all across not only China but also other countries around the world who celebrate 春节 have started preparations for this big celebration.
Chinese New Year is celebrated right across the People’s Republic of China, and in other countries and areas with a large Chinese population, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and in Chinatowns worldwide, pretty much – where ever there are some Chinese, they will celebrate.
Chinese New Year, which is on January the 31st this year, is I would say one of the most important festivals and everyone who is working in another city or even country wants to go back to their 家乡(hometown) and celebrate with their family and loved ones. Can you imagine all these people traveling? They actually call it the “World’s biggest annual human migration” which is definitely not hard to understand when you know the number of people who will travel during this time – “A good portion of China’s 1.35 billion people are expected to make over 3.6 billion journeys – by plane, train, automobile, bus, motorized tricycle and probably a few donkeys.”
Within China, regional customs and traditions for the celebration depends on where you are from, but most of the traditions are the same. People spend a lot of money on buying presents before the go back to their hometown, on decorations and food. Cleaning the house thoroughly before New year is a common tradition, they do it to sweep away ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Most doors and windows will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular words such as “good fortune”, “happiness”, “wealth” and “longevity”.
Now, how do they actually celebrate Chinese New Year? On Chinese New Year’s Eve, families will gather for their annual reunion dinner, with a variety of food including pork, duck, chicken, spring rolls and of course 饺子.
The family and/or friends usually have some fireworks and firecrackers to scare “evil spirits” this happens around midnight or a little before, and it is also a tradition to eat 饺子 (dumplings) at midnight. So you can only imagine cities around in China being very noisy around midnight, and for hours afterwards, even days! Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and then receive money in a 红包, the red envelope, it is usually children or the “unmarried” ones who receive this, but also people who don’t have a job yet, although this depends a little considering the traditions. Over the next few days, everyone meet relatives and friends to exchange gifts and good wishes. It is pretty much one big happy celebration!
This girl is Chenchen’s niece, sweetest kid 🙂 One of the many reasons why I really wish I could back to Manzhouli for Chinese New year..
Unfortunately, Chenchen and I can not celebrate with his family as we are Scotland and Norway, and we will definitely not receive any HongBao’s, of course his family is really sad, especially his mum, so these days I try to talk a lot to her, and make her happy.. haha. Although we are not going to celebrate Chinese New year in Manzhouli (Chenchen’s hometown) we are lucky enough to at celebrate together, as his parents actually bought me tickets to Scotland so I can spend parts of this festival with my 老公 and his friends there. I was definitely not expecting anything from them as I’m not Chinese, but the fact that they wanted us to celebrate together is perfect!
Here are some useful word / sentences that you could definitely need when celebrating Chinese New year;
新年快乐 = Xīnnián kuàilè! = Happy New Year
恭禧发财 = Gōngxǐ fācái = Wishing you prosperity in the coming year
吉星高照 = Jí xīng gāo zhào = Fortune will smile on you (‘lucky star high shines’）
吉祥如意 = jí xiáng rú yì = Good fortune according to your wishes
And here are some popular phrases used for the year of the horse;
马上有钱 = Mǎshàng yǒu qián = Get wealthy quickly
马年大吉 = Mǎ nián dàjí = Best wishes for the year of the horse
马到成功 = Mǎdàochénggōng = Success is on its way
Here is a song and MV by my favorites 羽泉 this music video really show’s what the family reunion’s are like during Chinese New year, and it really makes me want to go back to China.. 😦