8 Fun Facts about Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year, the happiest holiday season in China, is full of fun activities. People seem to compete with each other in doing New Year shopping, decorating their own houses, and preparing plenty of festival food. During the half month’s celebration, there is much interesting trivia and we select the top 8 fun facts that may inspire you.
Every year is represented by a zodiac animal.
Chinese zodiac, also called Shengxiao, is like western zodiac in some way. One of the fun facts about Chinese New Year is that every year is represented by a zodiac animal and it is for the entire year. Chinese zodiacs are based on a twelve-year cycle and there are 12 zodiacs in total, which include Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. In Chinese culture, the zodiacs play an important role and they are closely related with people’s characteristics, career, health and love relationship. At present, people are more likely to regard the zodiac animal as a kind of mascot, which can bring good fortune in the New Year.
Read more about Chinese Zodiac.
Hide a lucky coin inside a dumpling
Eating dumplings is one of the most typical customs on the New Year's Eve, especially for people in north China. All the family members reuniting together to have a dumpling feast is undoubtedly one of the happiest things on New Year's Eve. An interesting fact is that people will hide a lucky coin or several coins in the process of making dumplings. The coin represents luck and wealth. When eating dumplings, the person who can eat the dumplings with lucky coins will get the best luck in the next year.
Learn to make Chinese Dumplings.
'Fu' character pasted upside down
The Chinese character 'Fu' appears in different occasions very frequently during the Chinese New Year and it is always written on a piece of red diamond-shaped paper. “Fu” means good fortune in Chinese. Before the Chinese New Year, every family pastes the “Fu” on the doors, windows or walls. If you look carefully, you can find a fun fact that most of the “Fu” are pasted upside down. That’s because in Chinese, the words for “upside down” and “come” have the same pronunciation. Pasting the “Fu” upside down means the good fortune is coming.
600 million people send digital red envelopes.
Another traditional custom in Chinese New Year is the red envelopes, with lucky money inside, which are always sent by eldership to the young generation. The red envelopes represent happiness and good luck. In recent years, as the development of the internet and the popularization of Ali pay and WeChat Pay, people are more likely to send digital red envelopes and this is an activity prevalent among all the people. There have been more than 600 million people sending digital red envelopes to express blessings and wishes in the Chinese New Year of 2018 and undoubtedly there will be more people joining this in 2019.
Read more about Red Envelope.
No sweeping on Chinese New Year's Day
This is an interesting fact about Chinese New Year – all the sweeping and cleaning have to be finished before the New Year’s Eve and it is not allowed to sweep on the New Year’s Day. According to the old saying, if you sweep on that day, it means you just sweep wealth and good fortune out of the house. In different areas of China, the custom is a little different. In some places, people will not sweep until the fourth day of the New Year for keeping good fortune in house.
See off and welcome the Kitchen God
According to Chinese legend, the Kitchen God will visit the Jade Emperor, the ruler of the Heaven, to report the daily affairs of families on 23th day of the 12th lunar month. For having a better report, people always sacrifice candy and cakes to the Kitchen God. What’s more, sometimes people will paste the syrup on the mouth of the Kitchen God so that he cannot say any bad words about the families. The time to welcome the Kitchen God is on the 4th day of the 1st lunar month and every family just changes a new painting of Kitchen God and prepares some sacrificial offerings.
Welcome the God of Wealth on the 5th day of New Year
As one of the most important gods in China, the God of Wealth is widely loved by the public. On the basis of the folk legend, the fifth day of New Year is the birthday of the God of Wealth. In order to celebrate it, people always prepare a big dinner and sacrifice fruits and fish on the previous night. The fish in Chinese means “Yu”, which is associated with lucky things: a prosperous life and abundance. After 0:00, people will set off firecrackers and light fireworks to welcome the God of Wealth. In some areas, it will be arranged in the early morning of the fifth day.
The festival originated from fighting against a monster.
One of the most interesting facts about the Chinese New Year is the origin story of the festival. It was said there was a fierce monster called ‘Nian’ and it would appear every 365 days or 366 days to eat humans. As time goes by, people found that it always came at night and was afraid of the red and the sound of the firecrackers. So from then on, people began to drive away the monster by setting off the firecrackers, wearing red clothes and making red decorations. Therefore, to celebration the Chinese New Year is also called ‘Guo Nian’, which means defeating the monster Nian.
Read more about the Legend of Monster Nian.