The Chinese New Year Festival also known as the spring festival according to the translation of the Chinese name is a celebration that runs from the last day of the year of the Chinese calendar to the 15th day of the first month of the year. This festival is the longest festival according to the Chinese calendar and is often referred to as the Lunar New Year.
The history of the festival can be traced back to centuries and is related with several traditions and myths. Traditionally it is believed that honour is paid to the deities and the ancestors through this festival. This festival is celebrated by all the Chinese population in the country and other places as well. Chinese New Year is a major holiday for the Chinese people. The traditions and regional customs of the festive vary greatly from place to place within the country and outside. But at everyplace this festival conveys the same tune of reunion and prayers.
This is a cultural as well as religious festive of the Chinese people, that is considered as a time to swipe away the bad fortune and welcome the good luck. The homes are cleaned thoroughly and the doors and windows are decorated with paper cuttings and couplets of red colour that signifies happiness, wealth, good fortune and longevity. Lighting beautiful fire crackers is also a part of this occasion.
The mythological background
According to the legends and tales of China, the New Year started with fighting against the beast Nian, who used to come on the first day of the New Year to eat villagers and livestock. To escape from his rage people used to place food in-front of their closed door. One day it was observed that Nian was afraid of a child dressed in red and eventually they understood that Nian was afraid of the Red colour. And from that time they started to decorate their village with red lanterns and red paper and cloth cuttings and Nina never came back again and was finally captured by the Taoist monk, HongjunLaozu and became his mount.
The festive starts at the midnight with welcoming all the deities of heaven and earth. Fireworks, Bamboo sticks are burnt to chase off the evil spirits. Using the broom and cooking food on this day is considered as bad luck by some. It is characterised by honouring the elders and visiting the oldest in the distant family. On the ninth day prayer is offered to the Jade Emperor of Heaven. And the 15th day is celebrated as the Lantern festival.Rice dumplings are compulsorily eaten on this day and families walk the street in groups carrying red lanterns in their hands.
On the New Year’s Eve a reunion dinner is held with the whole family. Red envelops with money is given to the juniors and children of the family by the elderly. Gifts are exchanged between friends and relatives. Village fairs are set up in the occasion. Fireworks are burnt to scare away the evil spirits. Special clothing featuring mostly the colour redis worn throughout the New Year Festival.