Chinese New Year Traditions
How to Celebrate the 15 Days of Chinese New Year (来源：英语麦当劳－英语学习门户 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
By Greg Rodgers, About.com Guide
Chinese New Year traditions vary from region to region in China, and within ethnic groups who migrated(移动) away from the mainland. While some traditions have fallen victim to modern times, many are still celebrated by even those who claim not to be superstitious(迷信的).
First, read about Chinese New Year preparation so that you're ready in time, then learn about Chinese New Year celebrations across the world.
Don't just watch the fireworks and lion dances; you'll get more out of the celebration once you understand some of the Chinese New Year traditions!
When is Chinese New Year?
Celebrating Chinese New Year's Eve:
The eve of Chinese New Year is typically celebrated with a family dinner of fish and dumplings -- which symbolize(象征) wealth because of their shape. Southern Chinese celebrate by preparing a special cake known as niangao, and by giving small pieces of it to friends and family.
Read more about Chinese New Year foods.
After dinner, many groups go to temples to pray in the new year, although some families now stay at home and do an actual Western-style countdown.
Firecrackers(鞭炮) and spectacular fireworks displays -- meant to scare(惊吓) away evil spirits -- can be seen in many cities on the eve of Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year Traditions
Spread over 15 consecutive(连贯的) days, these Chinese New Year traditions have been observed for centuries.
The first day of Chinese New Year is celebrated the most widely. Many cities across the world consider the first two days of Chinese New Year to be a public holiday; businesses and offices are usually closed.
Fireworks, lion dances, and parades fill the streets. Senior members of the family are especially honored, and younger people receive money, sweets, and small gifts in red envelopes from their elders.
To maximize(取…最大值) good fortune, Buddhists typically refrain(节制) from eating meat or killing animals on the first day of Chinese New Year.
The second day of Chinese New Year is considered the official beginning of the new year as well as Cai Shen -- the God of Wealth's -- birthday. Some consider this day to be important for dogs and reward them with treats!
Friends and family members are typically visited, because the following day is considered a bad day to socialize(社会化) away from home.
In direct contrast with the first two days of Chinese New Year, day three is considered a bad day to visit friends and family; superstitious(迷信的) followers choose to remain at home, or go to have their fortunes told at a temple dedicated to the God of Wealth.
Although Chinese New Year traditions and superstitions(迷信) persist(存留), business returns to normal on the fourth day in many places. Corporations may have department dinners or social events for their employees.
Dumplings are consumed in mainland China on day five. Some groups shoot firecrackers(鞭炮) to hopefully bring blessings from Guan Yu -- a famous Chinese general considered the Taoist God of War.
Offices reopen(再开) and business returns to normal in places that observe the first five days of Chinese New Year as a public holiday. Again, more firecrackers are thrown to keep away malicious(恶意的) spirits who may interfere(干涉) with business.
Day seven is considered by many to be the day that everyone grows one year older. Buddhists do not eat meat, and Chinese communities in Southeast Asia consume raw fish salad to ensure prosperity(繁荣).
The eighth day of Chinese New Year is the eve of the Jade Emperor's birthday; special family dinners are held to honor Yu Huang, the Ruler of Heaven. Many employers will thank their employees with food.
The birthday of the Jade Emperor is considered extra important by the Hokkien Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore. Prayers are offered and incense(香) is lit. Sugarcane(甘蔗) is considered a traditional offering.
Recognition and offerings continue to be offered to the Jade Emperor on day 10.
Day 11 – 12
Aside from family dinners, these days are relatively quiet on Chinese New Year.
After a gluttonous(贪吃的) twelve days of eating, everyone converts to vegetarian(素食者) on the thirteenth day as a peace offering to weary(疲倦) digestive(消化的) systems.
Day 13 is mostly dedicated to Guan Yu, the God of War. Although everyone is long since back to work, businesses will offer special thanks to the famous general.
Day 14 is spent resting and preparing for the Lantern Festival -- the final Chinese New Year blowout(爆裂).