Chinese New Year

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other traditions of celebrating lunar new year, see Lunar New Year.

Chinese New Year

Also called      Lunar New Year, Spring FestivalDell Inspiron 710m battery

Observed by  Chinese communities worldwide[1]

Type        Cultural, Religious

(Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian)

Significance   The first day of the Chinese calendar (lunisolar calendar)

2012 date        January 23Dell INSPIRON 8200 battery

2013 date        February 10

Celebrations  Dragon dances/Lion dances, fireworks, family gathering, family meal, visiting friends and relatives (拜年, bàinián), giving red envelopes, decorating with duilian (對聯, duìlián). Dell INSPIRON 8600 battery

Related to       Lantern Festival, which concludes the celebration of the New Year.

Mongol New Year (Tsagaan Sar), Tibetan New Year (Losar), Japanese New Year (Shōgatsu), Korean New Year (Seollal), Vietnamese New Year (Tết)

Chinese New YearDell INSPIRON 9100 battery

Traditional Chinese      農曆新年

Simplified Chinese        农历新年

Literal meaning     Agrarian Calendar New Year

[show]TranscriptionsDell INSPIRON 9200 battery

Spring Festival

Traditional Chinese      春節

Simplified Chinese        春节

[show]Transcriptions

This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters. Dell INSPIRON 9300 battery

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. In China, it is known as "Spring Festival," the literal translation of the Chinese name 春節 (Pinyin: Chūnjié), since the spring season in Chinese calendar starts with lichun, Dell Inspiron 9400 battery the first solar term in a Chinese calendar year. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western Carnival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: Zhēngyuè) in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day. Dell Inspiron E1505 battery Chinese New Year's Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chúxī (除夕) or "Eve of the Passing Year." Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, Dell Inspiron E1705 battery the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the "Lunar New Year".

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Dell Inspiron Mini 9 battery Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, such as Mainland China, Hong Kong[2], Macau, Taiwan, Singapore[3], Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius[4], Philippines[5][6], Vietnam, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere.Dell Latitude D400 battery Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.

Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. Dell STUDIO 1450 battery People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Dell Vostro 1400 battery Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity". On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will include such items as pigs, ducks, Dell Vostro 1500 battery chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is to reconcile, forget all grudges and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone. Dell XPS GEN 2 battery

Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, outside China its years are often numbered from the reign of the Yellow Emperor. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year beginning in 2012 CE the "Chinese Year" 4710, Dell XPS M1210 battery 4709, or 4649.[7]

London: Chinatown with Chinese New Year decoration

Contents  [hide]

1 Dates

2 Mythology

3 Public holidayDell XPS M1330 battery

4 Festivities

4.1 Preceding days

4.2 First day

4.3 Second day

4.4 Third day

4.5 Fourth day

4.6 Fifth day

4.7 Seventh day

4.8 Eighth day

4.9 Ninth day

4.10 Tenth dayDell XPS 1340 battery

4.11 Eleventh through twelfth day

4.12 Thirteenth day

4.13 Fifteenth day

5 Cuisine

6 Practices

6.1 Red envelopes

6.2 Gift exchange

6.3 Markets

6.4 Fireworks

6.4.1 Firecracker banDell XPS M1530 battery

6.5 Clothing

6.6 Family portrait

6.7 Symbolism

6.8 Nianhua

6.9 Flowers

6.10 Icons and ornaments

6.11 Spring travel

7 Festivities outside China

7.1 OriginsDell XPS M170 battery

7.2 South East Asia

7.3 Other parts of the world

8 Greetings

9 See also

10 Notes

11 References

[edit]DatesDell XPS M1710 battery

Main article: Chinese calendar

Animal    Branch    New Year dates

鼠 Shǔ Rat    子 Zǐ       February 19, 1996          February 7, 2008 January 25, 2020牛 Niú Ox      丑 Chǒu February 7, 1997         January 26, 2009 February 12, 2021虎 Hǔ Tiger 寅 Yín    January 28, 1998  February 14, 2010         February 1, 2022兔 Tù Rabbit      卯 Mǎo  February 16, 1999          February 3, 2011   January 22, 2023龍 Lóng Dragon    辰 Chén         February 5, 2000 January 23, 2012  February 10, 2024Dell Latitude E6400 battery

蛇 Shé Snake        巳 Sì       January 24, 2001 February 10, 2013         January 29, 2025

马 Mǎ Horse         午 Wǔ     February 12, 2002        January 31, 2014  February 17, 2026

羊 Yáng Goat         未 Wèi   February 1, 2003  February 19, 2015          February 7, 2027

猴 Hóu Monkey    申 Shēn January 22, 2004 February 8, 2016  January 27, 2028

雞 Jī Rooster       酉 Yǒu    February 9, 2005 January 28, 2017  February 13, 2029Dell XPS M2010 battery

狗 Gǒu Dog   戌 Xū      January 29, 2006 February 16, 2018         February 3, 2030

豬 Zhū Pig    亥 Hài    February 18, 2007         February 5, 2019  January 23, 2031

Chinese New Year eve in Meizhou on February 2, 2011. Dell Latitude E5400 battery

The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines the date of Chinese New Year. The calendar is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by Han culture, notably the Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese, Dell Latitude E5500 battery

and may have a common ancestry with the similar New Year festivals outside East Asia, such as Iran, and historically, the Bulgars lands.[citation needed]

In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20. In the Chinese calendar, Dell XPS M1730 battery

winter solstice must occur in the 11th month, which means that Chinese New Year usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice (rarely the third if an intercalary month intervenes). In traditional Chinese Culture, lichun is a solar term marking the start of spring, which occurs about February 4. Dell Latitude E6500 battery

The dates for Chinese New Year from 1996 to 2031 (in the Gregorian calendar) are at the left, along with the year's presiding animal zodiac and its earthly branch. The names of the earthly branches have no English counterparts and are not the Chinese translations of the animals. Dell Inspiron Mini 12 battery Alongside the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac there is a 10-year cycle of heavenly stems. Each of the ten heavenly stems is associated with one of the five elements of Chinese astrology, namely: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The elements are rotated every two years while a yin and yang association alternates every year.Dell XPS M140 battery The elements are thus distinguished: Yang Wood, Yin Wood, Yang Fire, Yin Fire, etc. These produce a combined cycle that repeats every 60 years. For example, the year of the Yang Fire Rat occurred in 1936 and in 1996, 60 years apart.[8]

Many confuse their Chinese birth-year with their Gregorian birth-year. Dell XPS 13 batteryAs the Chinese New Year starts in late January to mid-February, the Chinese year dates from January 1 until that day in the new Gregorian year remain unchanged from the previous Gregorian year. For example, the 1989 year of the snake began on February 6, 1989. Dell XPS 16 batteryThe year 1990 is considered by some people to be the year of the horse. However, the 1989 year of the snake officially ended on January 26, 1990. This means that anyone born from January 1 to January 25, 1990 was actually born in the year of the snake rather than the year of the horse. Dell XPS 1640 battery Many online Chinese Sign calculators do not account for the non-alignment of the two calendars, using Gregorian-calendar years rather than official Chinese New Year dates.

One scheme of continuously numbered Chinese-calendar years assigns 4708 to the year beginning February 3, 2011, Dell XPS 1645 battery but this is not universally accepted; the calendar is traditionally cyclical, not continuously numbered.

[edit]Mythology

Hand-painted Chinese New Year's poetry pasted on the sides of doors leading to people's homes, Lijiang, YunnanDell XPS 1647 battery

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian (Chinese: 年; pinyin: Nián). Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselvesDell Latitude 131L battery, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, Dell Latitude C400 batteryevery time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. Dell Latitude C500 batteryThe Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount.[9]

[edit]Public holiday

Chinese New Year is observed as a public holiday in a number of countries and territories where a sizable Chinese population resides. Since Chinese New Year falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar every year on different days of the week, Dell Latitude C510 batterysome of these governments opt to shift working days in order to accommodate a longer public holiday. Also like many other countries in the world, a statutory holiday is added on the following work day when the New Year falls on a weekend.

Region    DescriptionDell Latitude C540 battery

Mainland China     New Year's Eve and the first two days. (Usually, the Saturday before and the Sunday after Chinese New Year are declared working days, and the 2 additionally gained holidays are added to the official 3 days of holiday, so that people have 7 consecutive days, including weekends, off.) Dell Latitude C600 battery

In Mauritius, the Chinese New Year is celebrated at National level. All Mauritius from all faith and backgrounds enjoy the great Spring Festival celebrations. Mauritians enjoy the Dragon foung Paow alondside the famous 'gato lacire'. Dell Latitude C610 battery

Hong Kong and Macau         The first three days. If one of the first three days is on a Sunday, Chinese New Year's Eve is celebrated as a public holiday. In the year 2010, the first day (February 14) is a Sunday and Chinese New Year's Eve (February 13) is consequently a public holiday. Dell Latitude C640 battery

Taiwan    The New Year's Eve and the first three days.

Christmas Island, Malaysia and Singapore       The first two days. If one of the days falls on a Sunday, the holiday is extended to three days. In 2010, the first day (February 14) is on a Sunday so celebration of the holiday is extended through Tuesday (February 16). Dell Latitude C800 batteryChinese New Year's Eve is usually a half-day holiday in Singapore.

Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines       The first day. If Sunday, it will be moved to Monday. If Friday (in Brunei), it will be moved to Saturday.

Other       A few countries around the world regularly issue postage stamps and numismatic coins to commemorate Chinese New Year. Dell Latitude C810 battery Although Chinese New Year is not institutionalized as public holiday, these countries recognize the significant number of their citizens who are of Chinese origin. The countries and territories that sometimes do so include Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United States, Argentina, and other countries. Dell Latitude C840 battery

[edit]Festivities

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2011) Dell Latitude CPI battery

“     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 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, Dell Latitude CPX battery and decorate your home with some beautiful red Chinese knots, then you will have an authentic Chinese-style Spring Festival.     ”

—Xinwen Lianbo, January 2001, quoted by Li Ren, Imagining China in the Era of Global Consumerism and Local Consciousness[10] Dell Latitude D410 battery

[edit]Preceding days

On the eighth day of the lunar month prior to Chinese New Year, a traditional porridge known as làbāzhōu (臘八粥) is served in remembrance "of an ancient festival, called Là, that occurred shortly after the winter solstice"[11]. Dell Latitude D420 batteryLàyuè (臘月) is a term often associated with Chinese New Year as it refers to the sacrifices held in honor of the gods in the twelfth lunar month, hence the cured meats of Chinese New Year are known as làròu (臘肉). The porridge was prepared by the women of the household at first light, with the first bowl offered to the family's ancestors and the household deities. Dell Latitude D430 batteryEvery member of the family was then served a bowl, with leftovers distributed to relatives and friends.[12] It's still served as a special breakfast on this day in some Chinese homes.

On the days immediately before the New Year celebration, Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. Dell Latitude D500 battery There is a Cantonese saying "Wash away the dirt on ninyabaat" (年廿八,洗邋遢), but the practice is not restricted to 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. Dell Latitude D505 battery Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that the newly arrived good luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-frames a new coat of red paint; decorators and paper-hangers do a year-end rush of business prior to Chinese New Year[13]. Dell Latitude D510 battery 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. Businesses are expected to pay off all the debts outstanding for the year before the new year eve, extending to debts of gratitude. Dell Latitude D520 batteryThus it is a common practice to send gifts and rice to close business associates, and extended family members.

In many households where Buddhism or Taoism is prevalent, home altars and statues are cleaned thoroughly, and altars that were adorned with decorations from the previous year are taken down and burned a week before the new year starts, Dell Latitude D600 battery to be replaced with new decorations. Taoists (and Buddhists to a lesser extent) will also "send gods" (送神, sòngshén), an example would be burning a paper effigy of Zao Jun the Kitchen God, the recorder of family functions. Dell Latitude D610 battery This is done so that the Kitchen God can report to the Jade Emperor of the family household's transgressions and good deeds. Families often offer sweet foods (such as candy) in order to "bribe" the deities into reporting good things about the familyDell Latitude D620 battery.

Prior to the Reunion Dinner, a thanksgiving prayer offering to mark the safe passage of the previous year is held. Confusionists take the opportunity to remember the ancestors, and those who had lived before them are revered. Dell Latitude D630 battery

The biggest event of any Chinese New Year's Eve is the Reunion Dinner. 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. Dell Latitude D800 battery In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings (jiaozi, 餃子, jiǎozi) after dinner to eat around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape resembles a Chinese tael. By contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a glutinous new year cake (niangao, 年糕, niángāo) and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days of the new year. Dell Latitude D810 battery Niángāo [Pinyin] literally means "new year cake" with a homophonous meaning of "increasingly prosperous year in year out".[14] After 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; Dell Latitude D820 battery however in modern practice, many households hold parties and even hold a countdown to the new year. Traditionally, firecrackers were once lit to scare away evil spirits with the household doors sealed, not to be reopened until the new morning in a ritual called "opening the door of fortune" (kāicáimén, 開財門) Dell Latitude D830 battery.[15] Beginning in 1982, the CCTV New Year's Gala was broadcast four hours before the start of the New Year.

[edit]First day

The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnightDell Latitude 2100 battery. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits as encapsulated by nian (年) of which the term guo-nian (过年) was derived. Many people, especially Buddhists, Dell Latitude 2110 battery abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year's Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the days before. On this day, Dell Latitude E4300 batteryit is considered bad luck to use the broom.

Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time to honor one's elders and families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Dell Vostro 1310 battery

For Buddhists, the first day is also the birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva (better known as the more familiar Budai Luohan), the Buddha-to-be. People also abstain from killing animals.

Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Chinese New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. Dell Vostro 1320 battery Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash known as lai see or angpow, a form of blessings and to suppress the aging and challenges associated with the coming year, to junior members of the family, Dell Vostro 1510 batterymostly children and teenagers. Business managers also give bonuses through red packets to employees for good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth.

While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular, some regions have banned them due to concerns over fire hazards. For this reason, Dell Vostro 1520 battery various city governments (e.g., Hong Kong, and Beijing, for a number of years) issued bans over fireworks and firecrackers in certain precints of the city. As a substitute, large-scale fireworks display have been launched by governments in such cities as Hong Kong and Singapore. Dell Vostro 2510 battery

[edit]Second day

Incense is burned at the graves of ancestors as part of the offering and prayer ritual.

The second day of the Chinese New Year, known as kāinián (开年, "beginning of the year")[16], Dell Vostro 1014 battery was when married daughters visited their birth parents, relatives and close friends. (Traditionally, married daughters didn't have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently.)

During the days of imperial China, "beggars and other unemployed people circulate[d] from family to family, Dell Inspiron 1410 battery carrying a picture [of the God of Wealth] shouting, "Cai Shen dao!" [The God of Wealth has come!]."[17] Householders would respond with "lucky money" to reward the messengers. Dell Vostro 1014N battery Business people of the Cantonese dialect group will hold a 'Hoi Nin' prayer to start their business on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year so they will be blessed with good luck and prosperity in their business for the year. Dell Vostro 1015 battery

Some believe that the second day is also the birthday of all dogs and remember them with special treats.

[edit]Third day

The third day is known as Chìkǒu (赤口), directly translated as "red mouth". Chìkǒu is also called Chìgǒurì (赤狗日). Dell Vostro 1015N battery Chìgǒu means "the God of Blazing Wrath" (熛怒之神). Rural villagers continue with the tradition of offering prayers beside open burning rubbish dump, whereby waste and rubbish are incinerated together with offerings. It is generally accepted that it is not a good day to socialize or visit your relatives and friends.[18][19]. Dell Inspiron 1088 battery Hakka villagers in rural Hong Kong in the 1960s called it the Day of the Poor Devil and believed everyone should stay at home.[20] This is also considered a propitious day to visit the temple of the God of Wealth and have one's future told.

[edit]Fourth dayDell Inspiron 1088N battery

In those communities that celebrate Chinese New Year for only two or three days, the fourth day is when corporate "spring dinners" kick off and business returns to normal.

[edit]Fifth day

This day is the God of Wealth's birthday. Dell Vostro A840 battery In northern Mainland China, people eat jiǎozi (simplified Chinese: 饺子; traditional Chinese: 餃子), or dumplings on the morning of Pòwǔ (破五). In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re-open on the next day (the sixth day), accompanied by firecrackers. Dell Vostro A860 battery

It is also common in China that on the 5th day people will shoot off firecrackers in the attempt to get Guan Yu's attention, thus ensuring his favor and good fortune for the new year.[citation needed]

[edit]Seventh dayDell Vostro A860N battery

The seventh day, traditionally known as Rénrì (人日, the common man's birthday), the day when everyone grows one year older. In some overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore, it is also the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten for continued wealth and prosperity. Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 battery

For many Chinese Buddhists, this is another day to avoid meat, the seventh day commemorating the birth of Sakra, lord of the devas in Buddhist cosmology who is analogous to the Jade Emperor.

Chinese New Year's celebrations, Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 N450 batteryon the eighth day, in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

[edit]Eighth day

Another family dinner is held to celebrate the eve of the birth of the Jade Emperor. However, everybody should be back to work by the eighth day. SONY PCGA-BP1N battery All government agencies and business will stop celebrating by the eighth day. Store owners will host a lunch/dinner with their employees, thanking their employees for the work they have done for the whole year.

[edit]Ninth daySONY PCG-5G2L battery

The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven (天公, Tiāngōng) in the Daoist Pantheon. The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor. This day is especially important to Hokkiens. Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, SONY PCG-5G3L battery Hokkiens will offer thanks giving prayers to the Emperor of Heaven. Offerings will include sugarcane as it was the sugarcane that had protected the Hokkiens from certain extermination generations ago. Incense, tea, fruit, vegetarian food or roast pig, SONY PCG-F305 battery and gold paper is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honored person.

[edit]Tenth day

The Jade Emperor's party is also celebrated on this day.

[edit]Eleventh through twelfth daySONY PCG-5J1L battery

Nothing of extreme significance traditionally takes place during the eleventh and twelfth days.

[edit]Thirteenth day

On the 13th day people will eat pure vegetarian food to clean out their stomach due to consuming too much food over the last two weeks. SONY PCG-5J2L battery

This day is dedicated to the General Guan Yu, also known as the Chinese God of War. Guan Yu was born in the Han dynasty and is considered the greatest general in Chinese history. He represents loyalty, strength, truth, and justice. According to history, he was tricked by the enemy and was beheaded. SONY PCG-5K2L battery

Almost every organization and business in China will pray to Guan Yu on this day. Before his life ended, Guan Yu had won over one hundred battles and that is a goal that all businesses in China want to accomplish. In a way, people look at him as the God of Wealth or the God of Success. SONY PCG-5L1L battery

[edit]Fifteenth day

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuanxiao Festival/Yuánxiāojié (元宵节), aka Shangyuan Festival/Shàngyuánjié (上元节) or the Lantern Festival (otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei Chinese: 十五暝; SONY PCG-6S2L battery pinyin: Shíwǔmíng; literally "the fifteen night" in Fujian dialect). Rice dumplings tangyuan (simplified Chinese: 汤圆; traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyin: tāngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, are eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, SONY PCG-6S3L battery and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.

In Malaysia and Singapore, this day is celebrated by individuals seeking for a love partner, a different version of Valentine's Day.[21] Normally, single women would write their contact number on mandarin oranges and throw it in a river or a lake while single men would collect them and eat the oranges. SONY PCG-6V1L battery The taste is an indication of their possible love: sweet represents a good fate while sour represents a bad fate.

This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

[edit]Cuisine

Niangao, Chinese New Year cake

A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family gather for the celebration. SONY PCG-6W1L battery 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 large and sumptuous and traditionally includes dishes of meat (namely, pork and chicken) and fish. Most reunion dinners also feature a communal hot pot as it is believed to signify the coming together of the family members for the meal. SONY PCG-7111L batteryMost reunion dinners (particularly in the Southern regions) also prominently feature speciality meats (eg. wax-cured meats like duck and Chinese sausage) and seafood (eg. lobster and abalone) that are usually reserved for this and other special occasions during the remainder of the year. SONY PCG-71511M battery In most 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: niánnián yǒu yú) sounds the same as "let there be fish every year." SONY PCG-6W3L battery

In mainland China, many families will banter whilst watching the CCTV New Year's Gala in the hours before midnight.

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. SONY PCG-7113L battery 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.

Like many other New Year dishes, certain ingredients also take special precedence over others as these ingredients also has similar sounding names with prosperity, SONY PCG-7133L battery good luck, or even counting money.

Food items

Name      Description

Buddha's delight

(simplified Chinese: 罗汉斋; traditional Chinese: 羅漢齋; pinyin: luóhànzhāi)          An elaborate vegetarian dish served by Chinese families on the eve and the first day of the New Year. SONY PCG-7Z1L battery A type of black hair-like algae, pronounced "fat choy" in Cantonese, is also featured in the dish for its name, which sounds like "prosperity". Hakkas usually serve kiu nyuk (Chinese: 扣肉; pinyin: kòuròu) and ngiong teu fu.

Fish Is usually eaten or merely displayed on the eve of Chinese New Year. SONY PCG-7Z2L battery The pronunciation of fish (魚yú) makes it a homophone for "surpluses"(餘yú).

Leek         Is usually served in a dish with rondelles of Chinese sausage or waxed meat during Chinese New Year. The pronunciation of leek (蒜苗/大蒜Suàn miáo/Dà suàn) makes it a homophone for "calculating (money)" (算Suàn). SONY PCG-8Y1L battery The waxed meat is so chosen because it is traditionally the primary method for storing meat over the winter and the meat rondelles resemble coins.

Jau gok (Chinese: 油角; pinyin: yóujiăo) The main Chinese new year dumpling. It is believed to resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots (simplified Chinese: 金元宝; traditional Chinese: 金元寶; pinyin: jīnyuánbǎo) SONY PCG-8Y2L battery

jiaozi (dumplings) (Chinese: 餃子)    Eaten traditionally in northern China because the preparation is similar to packaging luck inside the dumpling, which is later eaten. The dumpling resembles a silver ingot, or money. The symbolism is prosperity. SONY PCG-8Z2L battery

Mandarin oranges         Mandarin oranges are the most popular and most abundant fruit during Chinese New Year – jin ju (Chinese: 金橘子; pinyin: jīnjúzi) translation: golden tangerine/orange or kam (Chinese: 柑; pinyin: gān) in Cantonese. Also, the name gik (橘 jú) in Teochew dialect is a homophone of "luck" or "fortune" (吉 jí).[22] SONY PCG-8Z1L battery

Melon seed/Kwatji

(Chinese: 瓜子; pinyin: guāzi)    Other variations include sunflower, pumpkin and other seeds. It symbolizes fertility and having many children.

Niángāo (Chinese: 年糕)     Most popular in eastern China (Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai) because its pronunciation is a homophone for "a more prosperous year (年高 lit. year high)". SONY PCG-7112L battery Nian gao is also popular in the Philippines because of its large Chinese population and is known as "tikoy" (Chinese: 甜粿, from Min Nan) there. Known as Chinese New Year pudding, nian gao is made up of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, salt, water, and sugar. SONY PCG-6W2L battery The colour of the sugar used determines the colour of the pudding (white or brown).

Noodles Families may serve uncut noodles, which represent longevity and long life, though this practice is not limited to the new year. SONY PCG-5K1L battery

Sweets    Sweets and similar dried fruit goods are stored in a red or black Chinese candy box.

Bakkwa

(Chinese: 肉干; pinyin: ròugān) Chinese salty-sweet dried meat, akin to jerky, which is trimmed of the fat, sliced, marinated and then smoked for later consumption or as a gift. SONY PCGA-BP1U battery

Taro cakes (Chinese: 芋頭糕, yùtougāo)  Made from the vegetable taro, the cakes are cut into squares and often fried.

Turnip cakes (Chinese: 蘿蔔糕, luóbogāo)       A dish made of shredded radish and rice flour, usually fried and cut into small squares. SONY PCGA-BP2E battery

Yusheng or Yee sang (simplified Chinese: 鱼生; traditional Chinese: 魚生; pinyin: yúshēng)         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. SONY PCGA-BP2EA battery

[edit]Practices

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2011) SONY PCGA-BP2NX battery

[edit]Red envelopes

Red packets for sale in a market in Taipei, Taiwan, before the Year of the Rat

Shoppers at a New Year market in Chinatown, Singapore

Traditionally, Red envelopes or red packets (Cantonese: lai sze or lai see) (利是, 利市 or 利事; Pinyin: lìshì); SONY PCGA-BP2NY battery (Mandarin: 'hóngbāo' (红包); Hokkien: 'ang pow' (POJ: âng-pau); Hakka: 'fung bao'; are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is also common for adults or young couples to give red packets to children. SONY PCGA-BP2V battery

Red packets are also known as 壓歲錢/压岁钱 (yàsuìqián, which was evolved from 壓祟錢/压祟钱, literally, the money used to suppress or put down the evil spirit) during this period.[23]

Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundredSONY PCGA-BP3T battery. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金: báijīn). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US. SONY PCGA-BP4V batteryThe number six (六, liù) is also very lucky as it sounds like 'smooth' (流, liú), in the sense of having a smooth year. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.

Odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit, rather than the last. Thirty and fifty, for example, are odd numbers, and are thus appropriate as funeral cash gifts. However, SONY PCGA-BP51 battery it is common and quite acceptable to have cash gifts in a red packet using a single bank note – with ten or fifty yuan bills used frequently.

The act of requesting for red packets is normally called (Mandarin): 讨紅包 tǎo-hóngbāo, SONY PCGA-BP51A battery要利是. (Cantonese): 逗利是. A married person would not turn down such a request as it would mean that he or she would be "out of luck" in the new year.

In Taiwan in 2000s, sometimes some employers also give red packets as bonus to maids, nurses or domestic workers from Southeast Asian countries, SONY PCGA-BP52 battery though whether this is appropriate is controversial.[24]

The Japanese have a similar tradition of giving money during the New Year called Otoshidama.

[edit]Gift exchangeSONY PCGA-BP52A battery

In addition to red envelopes, which are usually given from elder to younger, small gifts (usually of food or sweets) are also exchanged between friends or relatives (of different households) during Chinese New Year. SONY PCGA-BP71 battery Gifts are usually brought when visiting friends or relatives at their homes. Common gifts include fruits (typically oranges, and never pears), cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, or some other small gift.[25]

[edit]Markets

Markets or village fairs are set up as the New Year is approaching. SONY PCGA-BP71A battery These usually open-air markets feature new year related products such as flowers, toys, clothing, and even fireworks. It is convenient for people to buy gifts for their new year visits as well as their home decoration. In some places, the practice of shopping for the perfect plum tree is not dissimilar to the Western tradition of buying a Christmas tree. SONY VGP-BPL1 battery

Hong Kong filmmakers also release Hèsuè (賀歲) films in this time of the year.

[edit]Fireworks

A Chinese man setting off fireworks during Chinese New Year in Shanghai.

Bamboo stems filled with gunpowder that were burnt to create small explosions were once used in ancient China to drive away evil spirits. SONY VGP-BPL2 batteryIn modern times, this method has eventually evolved into the use of firecrackers during the festive season. Firecrackers are usually strung on a long fused string so it can be hung down. Each firecracker is rolled up in red papersSONY VGP-BPL4 battery, as red is auspicious, with gunpowder in its core. Once ignited, the firecracker lets out a loud popping noise and, as they are usually strung together by the hundreds, the firecrackers are known for their deafening explosions that are thought to scare away evil spirits. SONY VGP-BPL5A battery See also Myths above. The burning of firecrackers also signifies a joyful time of year and has become an integral aspect of Chinese New Year celebrations.[26]

[edit]Firecracker ban

The use of firecrackers, although a traditional part of celebration, has over the years led to many unfortunate outcomesSONY VGP-BPS2 battery. There have been reported incidents every year of users of fireworks being blinded, losing body parts, or suffering other grievous injuries, especially during the Chinese New Year season. Hence, many governments and authorities eventually enacted laws completely banning the use of firecrackers privately, SONY VGP-BPS3 battery primarily because of safety issues.

Taiwan – Beginning 2008, firecrackers are banned in urban areas, but still allowed in rural areas.

Mainland China – As of 2008, most urban areas in mainland China permit firecrackers. In the first three days of the traditional New Year, SONY VGP-BPS4 battery it is a tradition that people compete with each other by playing with firecrackers. However, many urban areas banned them in the 1990s. For example, they were banned in Beijing's urban districts from 1993 to 2005SONY VGP-BPS5 battery.[27] In 2004, 37 people were killed in a stampede when four million[28] people gathered for a rumoured Lantern Festival firework display in nearby Miyun.[29] Since the ban was lifted, the firecracker barrage has been tremendous. In Beijing, SONY VGP-BPS5A battery firecrackers are typically not allowed inside the 5th ring road. But this is overlooked by authorities for the holiday, provided there are no government buildings nearby; some residents in major cities look down on street-level fireworks from their tower blocksSONY VGP-BPS8 battery Bans are rare in rural areas.

Vietnam – 1996, fireworks were banned across the country because of its dangers.

Hong Kong – Fireworks are banned for security reasons – some speculate a connection between firework use and the 1967 Leftist Riot. However, SONY VGP-BPS8A battery the government would put on a fireworks display in Victoria Harbour on the second day of the Chinese New Year for the public. Similar displays are also held in many other cities in and outside China.

Singapore – a partial ban on firecrackers was imposed in March 1970 after a fire killed six people and injured 68. SONY VGP-BPL8 battery [30] This was extended to a total ban in August 1972, after an explosion that killed two people[31] and an attack on two police officers attempting to stop a group from letting off firecrackers in February 1972.[32] However, in 2003, the government allowed firecrackers to be set off during the festive season. SONY VGP-BPS9 battery At the Chinese New Year light-up in Chinatown, at the stroke of midnight on the first day of the Chinese New Year, firecrackers are set off under controlled conditions by the Singapore Tourism Board with assistance from demolition experts from the Singapore Armed ForcesSONY VGP-BPS9/S battery. Other occasions where firecrackers are allowed to be set off are determined by the tourism board or other government organizations. However, they are not allowed to be commercially sold.

Malaysia – firecrackers are banned for the similar reasons as in Singapore. However, many Malaysians manage to smuggle them from Thailand to meet their private needs. SONY VGP-BPS9A battery

Indonesia – Firecrackers and fireworks are forbidden in public during the Chinese New Year, especially in areas with significant non-Chinese population in order to avoid any conflict between the two. SONY VGP-BPS9A/B battery However, there were some exceptions. The usage of firecrackers is legal in some metropolitan areas such as Jakarta and Medan, where the degree of racial and cultural tolerance is higher.

United States – In 2007, New York City lifted its decade-old ban on firecrackers, allowing a display of 300,000 firecrackers to be set off in Chinatown's Chatham Square. SONY VGP-BPS9/B battery [33] Under the supervision of the fire and police departments, Los Angeles regularly lights firecrackers every New Year's Eve, mostly at temples and the shrines of benevolent associations. The San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, the largest outside China, is accompanied by numerous firecrackers, both officially sanctioned and illicit. SONY VGP-BPS9A/S battery

Australia – Australia, with the exception of the Northern Territory, does not permit the use of fireworks at all, except when used by a licensed pyrotechnician. These rules also require a permit to be sought from local government, SONY VGP-BPL9 battery as well as any relevant local bodies such as maritime or aviation authorities (as relevant to the types of fireworks being used) and hospitals, schools, etc., within a certain range.

Philippines - Despite the rise in firecracker-related injuries in 2009, SONY VGP-BPS10 battery the Department of Health has acknowledged that a total ban on firecrackers in the country will be hard to implement. Davao City, the first city in the country to impose a firecracker ban, has enjoyed injury-free celebrations for at least the last ten years. Their ban has been in effect since 2002. SONY VGP-BPL10 battery

[edit]Clothing

Clothing mainly featuring the color red or bright colors is commonly worn throughout the Chinese New Year because it was once believed that red could scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. SONY VGP-BPS11 battery In addition, people typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning in the new year. Wearing new clothes also symbolizes having more than enough things to use and wear in the new year.

[edit]Family portrait

Taking family portrait is an important ceremony after the relatives are gathered. SONY VGP-BPL11 battery The photo is taken at the hall of the house or taken in front of the house. The most senior male head of the family sits in the center.

[edit]Symbolism

See also: Fu character

An inverted character "福 (fú)" is a sign of arriving blessings. SONY VGP-BPL12 battery

As with all cultures, Chinese New Year traditions incorporate elements that are symbolic of deeper meaning. One common example of Chinese New Year symbolism is the red diamond-shaped fú characters (Chinese: 福, Cantonese and Hakka: Fook, literally "blessings, happiness"), which are displayed on the entrances of Chinese homes. SONY VGP-BPS12 battery This sign is usually seen hanging upside down, since the Chinese word 倒 (dào) "upside down", is homophonous or nearly homophonous with 到 (dào) "arrive" in all varieties of Chinese. Therefore, it symbolizes the arrival of luck, happiness, and prosperity. SONY VGP-BPS13 battery

Red is the predominant colour used in New Year celebrations. Red is the emblem of joy, and this colour also symbolizes virtue, truth and sincerity. On the Chinese opera stage, a painted red face usually denotes a sacred or loyal personage and sometimes a great emperor. Candies, SONY VGP-BPS13Q battery cakes, decorations and many things associated with the New Year and its ceremonies are coloured red. The sound of the Chinese word for “red” ( 紅, hóng) is “hong” in Mandarin (Hakka: Fung; Cantonese: Hoong) which also means “prosperous.” Therefore, red is an auspicious colour and has an auspicious sound. SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q battery

[edit]Nianhua

Chinese New Year festival in Chinatown, Boston

Nianhua can be a form of Chinese coloured woodblock printing, for decoration during Chinese New Year.[34]

[edit]FlowersSONY VGP-BPS13B/Q battery

The following are popular floral

decorations for the New Year and are available at new year markets.

Floral Decor  Meaning

Plum Blossom        symbolizes luckyness

Kumquat         symbolizes prosperitySONY VGP-BPS13/B battery

Narcissus        symbolizes prosperity

Bamboo a plant used for any time of year

Sunflower       means to have a good yearSONY VGP-BPS13B/B battery

Eggplant          a plant to heal all of your sickness

Chom Mon Plant  a plant which gives you tranquility

[edit]Icons and ornaments

Icons        Meaning IllustrationsSONY VGP-BPS13A/S battery

Lanterns          These lanterns differ from those of Mid Autumn Festival in general. They will be red in colour and tend to be oval in shape. These are the traditional Chinese paper lanterns. Those lanterns, used on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year for the Lantern Festival, are bright, colourful, and in many different sizes and shapes. SONY VGP-BPS21A/B battery

Decorations   Decorations generally convey a New Year greeting. They are not advertisements. Chinese calligraphy posters show Chinese idioms. Other decorations include a New year picture, Chinese knots, and papercutting and couplets. SONY VGP-BPS21B battery

Dragon dance and Lion dance     Dragon and lion dances are common during Chinese New Year. It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the dragon or lion dancing aggressively can evict bad or evil spirits. SONY VGP-BPS21 battery Lion dances are also popular for opening of businesses in Hong Kong and Macau.

Fortune gods Cai Shen Ye, Che Kung,etc.

[edit]Spring travel

Scene of the 2009 Chunyun period inside Beijing West Railway Station

Main article: ChunyunSONY VGP-BPS21/S battery

Traditionally, families gather during the Chinese New Year. In modern China, migrant workers in China travel home to have reunion dinners with their families on Chinese New Year's Eve. Owing to the large number of interprovincial travellers, SONY VGP-BPS13AS battery special arrangements were made by railways, buses and airlines starting from 15 days before the New Year's Day. This 40-day period is called "chunyun" (simplified Chinese: 春运; traditional Chinese: 春運; pinyin: chūnyùn; literally "transportation during Spring Festival"),SONY VGP-BPS13S battery known as the world's largest annual migration.[35] More interurban trips are taken in mainland China in this period than the total population of China.

In Taiwan, spring travel is also a major event. The majority of transportation in western Taiwan is north-south direction long distance travel between urbanized north and hometowns in rural south. SONY VGP-BPS13B/S batteryTransportations in eastern Taiwan and that between Taiwan and islands are less convenient. Cross-strait flights between Taiwan and mainland China begin in 2003 as part of Three Links, mostly for "Taiwanese businessmen" to return to Taiwan for new year.[36] SONY VGP-BPS13B/G battery

[edit]Festivities outside China

Lion costume for New Year parade, Los Angeles, 1953

[edit]Origins

In 1849, SONY VGP-BPS14 battery with the discovery of gold and the ensuing California Gold Rush, over 50,000 people had come to San Francisco to seek their fortune or just a better way of life. Among those were many Chinese, who had come to work in the gold mines and on the railroad. By the 1860s, SONY VGP-BPL14 batterythe residents of San Francisco's Chinatown were eager to share their culture with their fellow San Francisco residents who may have been unfamiliar with (or hostile towards) it. The organizers chose to showcase their culture by using a favorite American tradition – the parade. SONY VGP-BPS14/B batteryNothing like it had ever been done in their native China.[citation needed] They invited a variety of other groups from the city to participate, and they marched down what today are Grant Avenue and Kearny Street carrying colourful flags, banners, lanterns,SONY VGP-BPS14/S battery and drums and firecrackers to drive away evil spirits. The current San Francisco Chinese New Year Festival and Parade traces its lineage back to those early parades, and still incorporates Grant and Kearny Streets into its street festival and parade route, respectively.

[edit]South East AsiaSONY VGP-BPS14B battery

2012 Year of the Dragon stamps issued in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In Southeast Asia, Chinese New Year is a public holiday and considered to be one of the most important holidays of the year. The biggest celebrations take place in Malaysia (notably in Penang and Klang) and Singapore.[37] SONY VGP-BPS22 battery

Chinese New Year in Singapore is accompanied by various festive activities. One of the main highlights is the Chinatown celebrations. In 2010, this included a Festive Street Bazaar, nightly staged shows at Kreta Ayer Square and a lion dance competition. SONY VGP-BPS22 battery [38] The Chingay Parade also features prominently in the celebrations. It is an annual street parade in Singapore, well known for its colourful floats and wide variety of cultural performances.[39] The highlights of the Parade for 2011 include a Fire Party, SONY VGP-BPS18 batterymulti-ethnic performances and an unprecedented travelling dance competition.[40]

Chinese New Year is considered to be the most important festival for Filipino-Chinese in the Philippines. In 2012, SONY VGP-BPS22/A battery it was the first time that Chinese New Year was declared a special non-working holiday throughout the country.

Chinese New Year is also celebrated by Chinese-Indonesians in Indonesia since 1998 when Suharto stepped down. SONY VGP-BPS22A battery In 2003 the Chinese New Year was declared to be a national day.[41]

[edit]Other parts of the world

The Chinese New Year celebrated in Kolkata

Chinese New Year is also celebrated annually in many western cities with significant Chinese populations. SONY Vaio VGC-LB15 batteryAmong the cities with such parades are San Francisco,[42] Los Angeles,[43] New York City, Boston,[44] Wellington,[45] Toronto, and Vancouver.[46] However, even smaller cities that are historically connected to Chinese immigration, such as Butte, Montana, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ50B/B battery [47] have recently hosted parades. Both London[48] and San Francisco[49] claim to host the largest New Year celebration outside of Asia.

With one of the largest Chinese populations outside of Asia, Sydney also claims to have the largest Chinese New Year Celebrations outside of Asia with over 600,000 people attending the celebrations in Chinatown annually. SONY Vaio VGC-LJ50B/P batteryThe events there span over three weeks including the launch celebration, outdoor markets, evening street food stalls, Chinese top opera performances, dragon boat races, a film festival and multiple parades that incorporate Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese performers. SONY Vaio VGC-LJ50B/W battery The festival also attracts international media coverage, reaching millions of viewers in Asia.[50][51] The festival in Sydney is also unique in that it is organised in partnership with a different Chinese province each year.

In Mauritius, home to a long standing Chinese population, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ50DB/W batteryChinese New Year is celebrated and is a public holiday although Mauritians of Chinese origin represents only 2-3% of the population.[52]

Many celebrate the festival in Chinatown, Kolkata, India where a significant community of people of Chinese origin exists.

[edit]GreetingsSONY Vaio VGC-LJ51B/P battery

This unreferenced section requires citations to ensure verifiability.

The Chinese New Year is often accompanied by loud, enthusiastic greetings, often referred to as 吉祥話 (jíxiánghùa) in Mandarin or 吉利說話( Kat Lei Seut Wa) in Cantonese, loosely translated as auspicious words or phrases. New Year couplets, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ51B/R battery printed in gold letters on bright red paper, are another way of expressing auspicious new year wishes. They probably predate the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), but did not become widespread until then.[53] Today, they are ubiquitous with Chinese New Year. SONY Vaio VGC-BJ51B/W battery

Some of the most common greetings include:

simplified Chinese: 新年快乐; traditional Chinese: 新年快樂; Mandarin Pinyin: Xīnniánkuàilè; Jyutping: san1 nin4 faai3 lok6; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Sin-nî khòai-lo̍k; Hakka: Sin Ngen Kai Lok; Taishanese: Slin Nen Fai Lok. SONY Vaio VGC-LJ51DB/B battery A more contemporary greeting reflective of Western influences, it literally translates from the greeting "Happy new year" more common in the west. But in northern parts of China, traditionally people say simplified Chinese: 过年好; traditional Chinese: 過年好; SONY Vaio VGC-LJ52B/N battery pinyin: Guònián Hǎo instead of simplified Chinese: 新年快乐; traditional Chinese: 新年快樂 (Xīnniánkuàile), to differentiate it from the international new year. And 過年好 (Guònián Hǎo) can be used from the first day to the fifth day of Chinese New Year. However, 過年好 (Guònián Hǎo) is considered very short and therefore somewhat discourteous.SONY Vaio VGC-LJ52B/P battery

Kung Hei Fat Choi at Lee Theatre Plaza, Hong Kong

simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财; traditional Chinese: 恭喜發財; pinyin: Gōngxǐfācái; Hokkien: Keong hee huat chye (POJ: Kiong-hí hoat-châi); Cantonese: Gung1 hei2 faat3 coi4; Hakka: Kung Hii Fatt Choi, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ52B/W battery which loosely translates to "Congratulations and be prosperous". Often mistakenly assumed to be synonymous with "Happy New Year", its usage dates back several centuries. While the first two words of this phrase had a much longer historical significance (legend has it that the congratulatory messages were traded for surviving the ravaging beast of Nian, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ52DB/B battery in practical terms it may also have meant surviving the harsh winter conditions), the last two words were added later as ideas of capitalism and consumerism became more significant in Chinese societies around the world. SONY Vaio VGC-LJ53B/W batteryThe saying is now commonly heard in English speaking communities for greetings during Chinese New Year in parts of the world where there is a sizable Chinese-speaking community, including overseas Chinese communities that have been resident for several generations, relatively recent immigrants from Greater China, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ54B/W batteryand those who are transit migrants (particularly students).

Numerous other greetings exist, some of which may be exclaimed out loud to no one in particular in specific situations. For example, as breaking objects during the new year is considered inauspicious, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ90HS battery one may then say 歲歲平安 (Suìsuì-píng'ān) immediately, which means "everlasting peace year after year". Suì (歲), meaning "age" is homophonous with 碎 (suì) (meaning "shatter"), in demonstration of the Chinese love for wordplay in auspicious phrases. Similarly, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ90S battery 年年有餘 (niánnián yǒu yú), a wish for surpluses and bountiful harvests every year, plays on the word yú that can also refer to 魚 (yú meaning fish), making it a catch phrase for fish-based Chinese new year dishes and for paintings or graphics of fish that are hung on walls or presented as gifts. SONY Vaio VGC-LJ91HS battery

"招財進寶 (Zhāocáijìnbǎo)" written as a single character is popular during Chinese New Year.

The most common auspicious greetings and sayings consist of four characters, such as the following: SONY Vaio VGC-LJ91S battery

金玉滿堂Jīnyùmǎntáng - "May your wealth [gold and jade] come to fill a hall"

大展鴻圖Dàzhǎnhóngtú - "May you realize your ambitions"

迎春接福Yíngchúnjiēfú - "Greet the New Year and encounter happiness"SONY Vaio VGC-LJ92HS battery

萬事如意Wànshìrúyì - "May all your wishes be fulfilled"

吉慶有餘Jíqìngyǒuyú - "May your happiness be without limit"

竹報平安Zhúbàopíng'ān - "May you hear [in a letter] that all is well"SONY Vaio VGC-LJ92S battery

一本萬利Yīběnwànlì - "May a small investment bring ten-thousandfold profits"

福壽雙全Fúshòushuāngquán - "May your happiness and longevity be complete"

招財進寶Zhāocáijìnbǎo - "When wealth is acquired, precious objects follow"[54] SONY Vaio VGC-LJ94HS battery

These greetings or phrases may also be used just before children receive their red packets, when gifts are exchanged, when visiting temples, or even when tossing the shredded ingredients of yusheng particularly popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Children and their parents can also pray in the temple, SONY Vaio VGC-LJ94S battery in hopes of getting good blessings for the new year to come.

Children and teenagers sometimes jokingly use the phrase (Traditional Chinese:恭喜發財,紅包拿來, Simplified Chinese: 恭喜发财,红包拿来) (Pinyin: gōngxǐfācái, hóngbāo nálái) (Cantonese: 恭喜發財,利是逗來)(Usually English written as Kung Hei Fat Choi or Kung Hei Fat Choy) roughly translated as "Congratulations and be prosperous, SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/W battery now give me a red envelope!". In the Hakka dialect the saying is more commonly said as 'Gung hee fatt choi, fung bao diu loi' which would be written as 恭喜發財,紅包逗來 – a mixture of the Cantonese and Mandarin variants of the saying. SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/R battery

Back in the 1960s, children in Hong Kong used to say 恭喜發財,利是逗來,斗零唔愛 (Cantonese, Kung Hei Fat Choy, Lai See Tau Loy, Tau Ling M Oi), which was recorded in the a pop song Kowloon Hong Kong by Reynettes in 1966. Later in the 1970s, SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/P battery children in Hong Kong used the saying: 恭喜發財,利是逗來,伍毫嫌少,壹蚊唔愛 (Cantonese), roughly translated as, "Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope, fifty cents is too little, don't want a dollar either." It basically meant that they disliked small change – coins which were called "hard substance" (Cantonese: 硬嘢). SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/L battery Instead, they wanted "soft substance" (Cantonese: 軟嘢), which was either a ten dollar or a twenty dollar bill.

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