10 Fun facts about Chinese New Year every parent should share with their kids
Have you ever wondered about why we do certain things during Chinese New Year? Here are 10 fun facts about Chinese New Year!
It is that time of year again! The malls are all playing Chinese New Year music and you know you can’t escape the Chinese New Year decorations! It’s also the time to start shopping for new clothes for the family. Start spring cleaning. Get all your cookies and snacks and auspicious foods. Have you already started getting your reunion dinner plans ready? Actually have you thought about why we do these things in the first place? Well, here are some fun facts about Chinese New Year you should know (and share with your kids!).
Fun facts about Chinese New Year: Traditions and practices
Like any other celebration dating back centuries, Chinese New Year comes with its own sets of traditions and practices. Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do? Here are 10 fun facts about Chinese New Year that may help you gain deeper understanding!
1. The Chinese New Year signifies that start of a zodiac year
Each year is assigned to one of 12 Zodiac signs with an associated animal. This year will be the year of the Pig. The Chinese believe each sign has its own characteristics, which can be seen in people born under the sign. Which sign are you?
2. A typical Chinese New Year celebration lasts 15 days.
3. Start your spring cleaning for better luck!
It is considered good luck to thoroughly spring-clean the house to get rid of old energies and bad luck, getting ready to usher in fresh, better luck for the year ahead.
4. Decor goes up after spring cleaning is done.
Once the house is clean, the decorations can go up! This can be in the form of couplets, lanterns, flowers, door gods and so on. Typically they are in the lucky colour, red.
5. People generally put these plants around their homes during Chinese New Year
Some plants are considered auspicious like orange and mandarin trees, lucky bamboos, cherry blossoms and pussy willows. In the year of the Rooster, the cockscomb plant is very popular. Other lucky plants include the money plant (or Devil’s ivy) and the jade plant, which typically symbolises wealth.
6. Firecrackers are a must to scare off evil
Firecrackers are let off to celebrate the New Year and also to scare away monsters. Legend has it that the people of old were terrorised by a dragon called Nian, who could only be frightened off by loud noises and the colour red.
7. No cutting of hair, nails or food during the first days of Chinese New Year
No cutting of any kind is permitted during the first days of Chinese New Year. Therefore, hair and nails must be cut in advance and food must be prepared in advance to avoid “cutting off” the luck that is flowing in.
8. Giving out Ang Paos
Ang paos or red packets are greatly anticipated by the young ones and are typically given by adults and elderly. They are believed to suppress evil from children, keep them healthy and give them a long life.
9. A greeting is customary
To get the Ang Paos, you might hear young children saying “Gong Xi Fa Cai, Ang Pao Na Lai!”, which means, “Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope!” People exchange this auspicious phrase and many others to wish each other luck during the 15 days of Chinese New Year.
10. Chinese New Year ends with a lantern festival
The celebration typically ends with a Lantern Festival with lanterns, oranges and more feasting. In Malaysia, they celebrate Chap Goh Mei, where single young girls toss mandarins into rivers or seas with their numbers written on them, hoping to find a suitable match!
So now that you know these fun facts about Chinese New Year, will you be sharing them with your kids?