Chinese New Year and the Spring Festival

My name is Michelle and I am an American. As many other foreigners, I wonder why Chinese call their traditional new year some animals. For example, in Chinese lunar calendar, the 2014 is the year of Horse. I think it’s so cute. Maybe they truly love animals? And I also have other questions about the Chinese Spring Festival. Why they hang red lanterns above the gate? Why there are lion dances in the streets? Why they like firing fireworks during the Spring Festival?

Bearing these questions in my mind, I want to learn more about the Chinese New Year and the Chinese Spring Festival. I found some interesting information summarized as below and hope it will help.

During the Chinese Spring Festival, Chinese around the world will hang red lanterns, burn censers, eat dumplings, and perform lion dances and fire fireworks.

By convention, Chinese will stick on couplets on the doors one day or two before the Spring Festival.

Usually, on the New Year’s Eve, a family would sit together and eat New Year’s Eve dinner while watching the annual Spring Festival Gala. After the dinner, they will make dumplings for the the first day of the Spring Festival. They stay up very late on the Eve. Some even stay up the whole night. At the midnight, the wife of a family will burn the censer in the yard and the husband will fire fireworks to welcome the new year.

On the first day of the Spring Festival, Chinese get up very early. They will wear new clothes and visit relatives and friends.

On the second day of the Spring Festival, they will visit the maternal grandmother and grandfather.

And their relatives-and-friends-visit activities can continue until the Lantern Festival. On the Lantern Festival, they will eat rice glue balls and watch lion dances.

The above is how Chinese spend their Spring Festival and hope it will help.

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