Tradition is priceless because it came with rich history and hundreds or thousands year of heritage. Being a Chinese living overseas, I feel the strong calling of respecting and practicing them especially during the festival time. For Chinese New Year, no matter where we are and how long we have been away from home, Chinese New Year ( Spring Festival) is a very special festival for any one of us.
As we all know that China is a big country and each region has its own variation of celebration with the same spirit hoping the next year with better and greater life after the "Spring's arrival".
I have been living in Manchurian hometown till year 2000. North East China's very traditional celebration activities had made a very deep impression in my mind since I was young. And every family has been practicing for hundreds years. This is what we do at home in North East China, which may not represent the other proviences.
Dumpling is pronounced as "Jiao Zi" in Manderin, which has similar sounds with "transition" between old and new. The whole family usually gather together around the table to make dumplings together after the Chinese New Year Eve Dinner. Everyone will have to eat some and put the rest into freezer for the future. My late grandmother usually use cabbage and pork for the stuff inside over other options( such as celery or pickles etc) for the Chinese New Year Eve dumplings. And we were not allowed to have any vinegar or garlic as the sauce at CNY eve according to her.
One of the biggest fun we all miss dearly is the fire cracker at Chinese New Year Eve before the clock turns to 12' Clock. All the kids were put on think winter coats, hats and boots running to the courtyard to lit the fire crackers. Due to the massive urbanization in China, a lot of festival tradition had to be modernized. Some people chose those electronic fire crackers as a replacement thought it is never the same.
There was a story of why Chinese people must use fire crackers at Chinese New Year. Once upon a time, there was one monster called "Nian" who always came out at the Chinese New Year to eat innocent people. Everybody were scared and dared not to go out at the CNY eve. One day, they found out that "Nian" actually was afraid of light and red colours. So people decided to use a lot of red and bright colours to decorate and lit up fire crackers to scare away the nasty animal "Nian". This tradition has been practiced since.
It is a Must - Do for every Chinese putting a pair of couplets and "Fu" on the door before CNY eve.
With black or golden characters written on red paper, Spring Festival couplets are composed of a pair of poetry lines vertically pasted on both sides of the front door and a four character horizontal scroll affixed above the doorframe. Pasting couplets express people's delights in the festival and wishes for a better life in the coming year.
New Clothes, Shoes and socks
In old days, not every family was able to afford to buy new clothes or shoes for the family members through out the entire year. Usually the household would buy a set new clothes for the kids and new shoes or socks for the adults. People put them on to walk around at mid night to get rid of the evil spirit so called.
Lantern Festival on 15th Day
The Lantern Festival is the last day (traditionally) of China's most important festival, Spring Festival (春节 ).
Guessing Lantern Riddles
People are guessing lantern riddles in the Lantern Festival.Lantern owners write riddles on paper notes and pasted them upon the colorful lanterns. People crowd round to guess the riddles.If someone thinks they have the right answer, they can pull the riddle off and go to the lantern owner to check their answer. If the answer is right, there is usually a small gift as a prize.
Eating tangyuan is an important custom of the Lantern Festival. Tangyuan (汤圆 tāngyuán /tung-ywen/ 'soup round') are also called yuanxiao when eaten for the Lantern Festival, after the festival.
In 2017, I choose to celebrate the Lantern Festival in a special way by holding an artist talk to share my home country's folk custom and traditional Chinese New Year activities etc. You will be able to see some interesting art work with rich history or interesting stories behind it.