Top 10 Chinese New Year Activities

Chinese New Year is the most important festival for Chinese, and the most widely celebrated holiday in the world. With great passion, people observe this annual event with diverse activities, some of which are thousand-year-old traditions. Get the top 10 picks of the most popular Chinese New Year activities now.


Sweeping the House

From Dec. 23 in lunar calendar to Chinese New Year Eve, people carry out a complete sweeping of the house. People sweep the floor, furniture, and walls and throw away something old, which means to sweep away bad luck and welcome New Year. However, on the first day of the Lunar New Year, sweeping houses is never recommended because it means sweep away good luck and wealth of the New Year.


New Year Shopping

Shopping must be one of the grandest Chinese New Year activities. During this period, almost 10 days before New Year’s Eve, it’s common to see crowds in shopping malls and markets. People mainly buy new clothes, red decorations, meat, and snacks for their kids and firecrackers. Moreover, candies, peanuts and sunflower seeds are a must in the shopping list. It is now many people’s choice to go online shopping for convenience while the e-commerce companies launch a series of annually online New Year fair with big discounts.
Red Lanterns during Chinese New Year
Red Lanterns during Chinese New Year
Family Reunion Dinner
Family Reunion Dinner


Having a Reunion Dinner

A reunion dinner must be the most important and significant event for all Chinese. This is a gathering of all family members; no matter how far the distance to travel may be. Everyone tries their best to go back home to reunite with their family. Generally, all the dishes are homemade, and maybe the most abundant of the year. In addition, fish must be on the table, because the pronunciation of fish, yu, means ‘surplus’, in both home supply and wealth.
 7 Chinese New Year Foods that will Bring You Good Luck
 Recipes of 10 Lucky Dishes on Chinese New Year Dinner


Eating Dumplings

Eating dumplings is an essential part of Chinese New Year activity. Dumplings, representing reunion, harmony and wealth in Chinese culture, are made with minced meat and vegetables wrapped in a round and elastic dumpling skin in the shape of Chinese silver ingot. Generally, almost each family member helps to make dumplings together and talk with each other at the same time. Minced pork, fish, diced shrimp, tofu and vegetables are most popular stuffing.


Exchanging Red Envelopes

Red envelopes will be given to younger generation: this is a monetary gift from parents, grandparents and other relatives. The money in red envelopes must be new bills, and the amount usually varies from 100 to 1000. Some red envelopes might contain more especially in south China. Nowadays, lots of children use the money from their red envelopes to buy books and school supplies.
Red Envelopes
Red Envelopes
Spring Festival Couplets
Spring Festival Couplets


Pasting Spring Festival Couplets

Spring Festival couplets are written in red paper with ink or gold paint, which originally was intended to scare away evil spirits. Chinese put up Spring Festival couplets on both sides of their gates to add to the festive atmosphere. Generally, people paste the upper scroll at first, then put up the lower scroll and horizontal scroll is put at last. In addition, Chinese like to paste the Chinese character Fu, which could be pasted normally or upside down, because, in Chinese culture, when inverted Fu foretells the arrival of good luck.
 Read more about How to Decorate for Chinese New Year.


Setting off Firecrackers

As for the most popular Chinese New Year activities, setting off firecrackers is essential. Under normal conditions, Chinese stay up late till midnight and set off firecrackers to mark the New Year’s arrival and to scare away evil spirits. This is also to welcome the New Year. For safety reasons and environmental protection, large cities, like Beijing and Shanghai, forbid individuals setting off firecrackers. Public fireworks shows are the vogue, especially the Hong Kong CNY fireworks show at Victoria Harbour..
Chinese New Year Gala
CCTV New Year's Gala
Firework during Chinese New Year
Firework during Chinese New Year


Watching CCTV's New Year Gala

Watching CCTV's New Year Gala turns into a traditional Chinese New Year activity since 1983 till now. Cross talk, sketches, singing and dancing performances are always seen. The grand party starts at 8 pm on CNY eve and lasts till midnight. Usually, the song ‘Unforgettable Tonight’ brings CCTV’s New Year Gala to an end.


Sending Blessing Messages

During the festival, Chinese like to send blessing messages to their relatives, friends, and colleagues through Wechat. People start to send blessing messages at 0:00 for expressing best wishes of the coming year. Besides, Chinese are likely to send voice massages, emoji package and videos through Wechat.


Visiting Relatives

Starting from the second day of the Chinese New Year, people visit their relatives and friends to exchange best wishes with each other. According to traditional customs, married couples visit the wife’s parents on the second day of the New Year. When people visit relatives and friends, it’s polite to take gifts, such as local products and wines. In addition, newly-married couples and little kids could receive red envelopes from their elders.
- Last updated on Jun. 14, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on Top 10 Chinese New Year Activities
Asked by Amber from CHINA | Jun. 14, 2023 06:02Reply
Can you say that people are dumb
On Chinese new year I told my ex friend she was dumb is that bad for Chinese new year? Help me please!
Answers (1)
Answered by Thomas | Jun. 14, 2023 22:34

At anytime, this kind of expression is very rude.
Asked by Pila | Mar. 09, 2023 17:09Reply
What are some things one should not do on Chinese New Year?
Answers (1)
Answered by Olivia | Mar. 12, 2023 19:34

To list a few: clean the house, break things, sew clothes, quarrel or fight with others, get up late, get drunk...
Asked by Aily from CHINA | Feb. 13, 2023 20:12Reply
What can’t I say during Chinese New Year?
I want to know what we can and can’t say during CNY cause I dunno how to say
Answers (1)
Answered by Henry | Feb. 14, 2023 18:00

There is no specific regulations on it. Just avoid bad words like "death" "injury" "break-up" and say happy words like “good luck” "happy new year". If interested, you may learn some Chinese New Year greetings.
Asked by Lori A Zinsser from UNITED STATES | Jan. 28, 2019 08:08Reply
Can i give a crystal pig as a gift for chinese new year?
My son's girlfriend is Chinese and i am just learning of the traditions. I have crystal pig i bought for her and then began to read about traditions so now i do not know if i should give it as it is clear with a bit of pink (not red, gold or green) and i have only one (saw gifts should be an even number). Can i buy a second gift to make the giving an even number? Help!
Answers (1)
Answered by Anne from NEW ZEALAND | Jan. 28, 2019 16:57

Hi, it is okay for a single one and you don't have to make an even number. This year is the Pig year and this is a very good gift. Don't worry, she will like it!
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