In China, people from different region got their own culture, the way they celebrate Chinese New Year also quite different. Now, I’m taking my family as example to introduce some custom and celebration of Lunar New Year.
My great grandfather came from FuJian, YongChun. He work and stay in Malaysia, so our family still retain a traditional Chinese custom. Of course, ways to celebrate Chinese New Year is slightly different from FuJian due to Malaysia regulation.
Lunar New Year is a big day for the Chinese; but in fact many people do not know Sount Korean, Vietnamese, North Koreans and others celebrate Lunar New Year, too. The Chinese calendar is similar to Western calendar which has 12 months a year and it divided into 24 solar terms. The reason and method of calculating is a bit complicated, so I’m not going to explain here.
The Lunar New Year is on the first month first day of Chinese calendar. On this day, Chinese need to wear new attire in red, talk propitiously and cannot fight. On that day, we can not sweep the floor, because it will “sweep” away the wealth given by God of Wealth. Elders will send a red packet to the younger, a red packet also known as lucky money.
According to legend, a demon name “Sui” will come and child's head on new year eve, the child will be scared and cry, ill. That’s why many parents sleepless whole night to look after their children, that’s what we called “Shou Sui”(Keep their eyes on Sui). An elderly couple put 8 coins below their child’s pillow, when the night comes, the demon “Sui” came, and it was repulsed by the coins. Since then, every parents follow to give their children coins every Chinese New Year, also known as lucky money.
New Year Eve is the day whole family gathers and has dinner together. Normally we will sit on a round table symbolizing reunion. After 12 o’clock, we set off firecrackers, hoping the loud sound able to repulse the demon. At the same time, every family welcome the God of Wealth, wish to have wealth and good luck throughout the year.
我家人數眾多，無法用一張圓桌吃團圓飯啦～ I got a big family, so can't sit on a round table. ^^
年除夕晚接財神 Welcoming God of Wealth on New Year Eve
Second day of New Year is the day to return home of a married woman, normally we will back to our mother’s or wife’s house on this day. The seventh day is “Human Day”, we will Lao Yu-Sheng to celebrate yours, his, my and everyone’s birthday. While the ninth day of new year is the God—Yu Huang Emperor’s birthday, FuJian(Hokkien) will pray on this day.
The 15th day is the last day of CNY, ancient unmarried gentlemen and ladies will go to the lantern festival; this is a chance for them to look for a partner. The ladies will throw the mandarin oranges into the river, while if the gentlemen found his ideal one, his family will go her house to propose after CNY. So, today is also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day.
Every CNY, my grandma also will pray the “mother of bed” (it’s a god). Grandma said my brother used to be a crying baby, not sleeping at night, so she pray the “mother of bed” every year in order to let my brother sleep tight every night. It needs to cook the same dishes every year, together with two ancient coins which need to be hung on bed. But we had moved away from grandma’s house for years, I wonder does it still work. But grandma said only can stop praying after the youngest child over 16 years old. This is custom, for whoever believe, it happens.