What do Chinese people do on their own New Year’s Day? Are there some special customs and traditions when people celebrate the Spring Festival? Read the passages below and then you will know that.
In the morning of the Chinese New Year’s Day, people put on their new clothes and shoes. The young members of the family will extend greetings to the parents and elders. Children will get money as a New Year gift, wrapped up in a red envelope or a piece of red paper.
People in northern China will eat jiaozi, or dumplings, for breakfast, as they think "jiaozi" in sound means "bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new." Also, the shape of the dumpling is like gold ingot from ancient China. So people eat them and wish for money and treasure. Southern Chinese eat niangao (New Year cake made of glutinous rice flour) on this occasion, because as a homophone, niangao means "higher and higher, one year after another."
Starting from the New Year’s Day, people begin going out to visit relatives and friends to wish them a "Happy and Prosperous New Year." Common expressions heard at this time are: Guonian Hao (Happy New Year), and Bainian (to congratulate the New Year). The caller is served tea with sweetmeats; melon seeds, both red and black; and fruits and delicacies such as puffed rice cakes, dumplings and deep-fried round doughnuts. In addition, liquor and tobacco are offered. Before leaving, the well-wisher present gifts of money wrapped in red paper to all the unmarried children of the family.
On New Year’s Day, the lights on the porch and in the parlor are not turned off but left on continuously. To retain good fortune and wealth in the home, the house is not swept for fear of weeping out the good fortune. Quarrels are to be avoided. Words with bad connotations such as defeat, illness, surgical operations, a coffin or death are not to be used. Dishes are handled carefully, for breaking a dish on New Year’s Day indicate bad luck for the coming year.