We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!! 🧧✨ The Spring Festival is the most important festival in Chinese culture. It celebrates the arrival of the new year on the lunar calendar. It does not have a fixed date, but it usually falls between the end of January and February.  According on the twelve-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, this will be the year of the pig!

Spring Festival is an occasion for family reunions, travelling, decorating and much more. It is one of the longest holidays that Chinese people can get to visit their families or travel for tourism, so the whole country’s transportation system becomes really crowded as people return to their hometowns.

The family reunions usually culminate in the New Year’s Eve dinner, which features many different dishes, among which a “must have” is the fish. In fact, in Mandarin Chinese, the word for “fish” is a homophone of the word “surplus”, so eating fish is a good omen for prosperity. Setting off fireworks and firecrackers is also a very traditional activity. Its origin traces back to a legend, according to which there is a monster, Nian, that on New Year’s Eve kills people, especially children. Nian is very scared of the color red and loud noises, so, to avoid its visit, people set off fireworks and hang red couplets on the doors.

Children and unmarried couples also receive red envelopes, containing money, to wish them good luck for the year to come (nowadays, it is very common to send red envelopes via WeChat!).

In China as well as abroad, where big Chinese communities live, parades are organized around the cities, with performances accompanied by the drums like the lion dance (there will be one in Milan too on February 10th!).

Spring Festival is all about attracting luck, money and health, so there are also some typical customs: for example, before the festival, there is a day for cleaning, to sweep away the bad luck, it’s tradition cleaning and throwing out the garbage.

By Francesca Colombi

Categories: Cultural Post

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