Culture Class/Field Trip - Cultural Course


Lunar New Year
Introduction The Lunar New Year is one of the most significant festivals for ethnic Chinese. Families all around China begin to give the house a thorough cleaning to remove bad luck from the previous year and hanging red "spring couplets" on the gate to create an atmosphere of renewal to welcome the arrival of Chinese New Year. New Year's Eve, the last day of a year, is also the time of thanks and family togetherness. People spend time bidding farewell to the old year and thanking one's ancestors and the gods for their blessings and protection. On this day those who work or study outside try to return to reunite with their family and have New Year's Eve dinner together. Of course, for young children, waiting to get a red envelope full of money from their elders and parents is the best part of New Year's Eve. Finally, families stay awake all night until the wee hours of New Year's Day morning to set off the firecrackers as a celebration of the New Year. Life is renewed on the arrival of New Year's Day. People put on new clothes to begin the day, go to worship their ancestors, and making special visits with friends, neighbors and relatives to exchange good wishes of "gong si fa cai" (恭喜發財), which means "congratulations and blessings of wealth in the new year." On the second day of the New Year, married women return to their maternal home to visit their family. On the fourth day, the gods return to the world of the living. Additionally, on the fifth day, many businesses and stores open their doors for an auspicious beginning. The joyous atmosphere of Chinese New Year continues all the way up to the Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day.