Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year - 15 Day Celebration

The first order of business on Chinese New Year's Day is offering ritual homage to one's ancestors. Reverence is then paid to the gods, followed by younger family members paying their respects to their living elders. New clothes are worn, and visits are made to friends, neighbors, and relatives to exchange good wishes of kung-hsi fa-tsai ®¥³ßµo°], which means "congratulations and prosperity." As an occasion for reconciliation, it's a time when old grudges are cast aside amidst an atmosphere of warmth and friendliness.

One of the most spectacular sights during the Chinese New Year Festival is the dragon and lion dance. The heads of these fearsome beasts are supposed to ward off evil, and the nimble movements of the dancers provide a grand spectacle enjoyable to everyone.

The second day of the Chinese New Year Festival is the day that married daughters return to their parents' home. If she is a newlywed, her husband must accompany her and bring gifts for her family. According to a charming legend, the third day of the lunar New Year is the day when mice marry off their daughters. Thus, on that night, people are supposed to go to bed early so that the mice can perform their wedding ceremonies.

On the fourth day, the fervor begins to ebb. In the afternoon, people prepare offerings of food to welcome the return of the Kitchen God and his retinue from their trip to the Jade Emperor's court. The Kitchen God's return signifies the end of freedom from spiritual surveillance, hence the popular Chinese saying: "It's never too early to send off the gods, and never too late to invite them back."

Day five almost brings the Chinese New Year festivities to a close. All offerings are removed from the altars and life returns to normal. Finally, on the ninth day, numerous offerings are set out in the forecourt or central courtyard of temples to celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor, who was believed to have been born immediately after midnight on the ninth day.

The 10th through 12th day are days that friends and relatives should be invited for dinner. After so much rich food, on the 13th day you should have simple rice congee and mustard greens to cleanse the system.

The 14th day should be for preparations to celebrate the Lantern Festival which is to be held on the 15th night.