5 must-have things to celebrate the Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the biggest holiday China celebrates every year. It can really fun to create your own celebration, but If you are going to ring in the Chinese New Year right, you have to have these 5 things ready.
1. Spring couplets are placed on front doors to bring in the new year. It is said that spring couplets originated from "peach wood charms," door gods painted on wood charms in earlier times. During the Five Dynasties (907-960), the Emperor Meng Chang inscribed an inspired couplet on a peach slat, beginning a custom that gradually evolved into today's popular custom of displaying spring couplets.
2. Dumplings are a staple food in Chinese culture and delicious food is a great way to kick off the new year. They are shaped like the ancient gold and silver ingots to symbolize the hope for a year of plenty.
3. Red envelopes with money are normally given to the youth as a token of luck and wealth by parents, grandparents, neighbors, older relatives, and/or close friends. Please do not abuse the meaning of this by giving it to a woman or man you are trying to pick up at a speed dating event. It’s just disgraceful. The red is meant to be a color of good luck, not getting lucky. And yes, I’ve bared witness to this.
4. Firecrackers are meant to frighten off the ghosts and monsters of the old year while bringing in the new year. They are first fired off on midnight of the new year and are set off all throughout the first half of the new month. Remember to check to see if fireworks are legal in your area before lighting away. Don’t say I never told you so.
5. The dragon dance’s purpose is to drive away the ghosts. My favorite part about the Chinese New Year is the dragon dance. Several performers will playfully dance with an intricate prop dragon made of a pattern of streaming bright colors from head to tail. The lead performer will rise and fall as the other members follow, trailing with quick undulations to a catchy rhythm played on the drums. Typically, dragon dances are performed in front of stores and restaurants for the first few weeks after the Chinese New Year.