Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year is one of the much awaited festivals of the Chinese calendar. Celebrated with great pomp and show, a number of traditions form the integral part of the festival. The age-old traditions and customs of the occasion are followed by the Chinese community. The Chinese New Year traditions reflect the rich culture and heritage of the Chinese. This grand and lively festival is also known by Lunar New Year and Spring Festival.

Traditions of the Chinese New Year

From cleaning houses, to appeasing the Kitchen God, decorations of houses and streets, giving red envelopes, visiting temples and more form the principal traditions of the Chinese New Year.

Sweeping or cleaning the floors

Sweeping the floor is an important tradition followed during the Chinese New Year. Each and every corner of the different households is cleaned during this festival.


Decorating the houses is also an important tradition of the festival. During this time, Spring Couplets, which are written in black on vertical red scroll papers, are hanged both on walls and on gate-ways. The couplets are mainly short poems, which are written in Classical Chinese. These are symbolic of good wishes which are meant for the family for the coming year. Additionally, symbolic fruits and flowers are also used for decorations. ‘Nian Hua’, which is colorful pictures of New Year, is also used for decorating the walls.

In addition to the different households, the streets and lanes are also decorated in bright red colors. Red lanterns and red ribbons are hanged everywhere in streets and lanes.

Lai-See or Red Envelopes

An integral tradition of the Chinese New Year is to give red envelopes or ‘Lai-See’ envelopes to children by the elderly. Lai-See is money symbolizing good luck which is given in small red envelopes.

Family celebration

Chinese New Year can also be dubbed as a family celebration. During the time of the New Year, everyone return to their family in order to celebrate the New Year. Family reunion dinner is most common at this time. People of the Chinese community visit their families, relatives and friends. They meet to exchange gifts and give blessings.

At the family reunion dinner, mainly traditional Chinese dishes are cooked. The dishes that are cooked symbolize health, good luck and fortune. It is also during this time that everyone dress in new clothes, particularly, clothes that are dominated by the color red.

At midnight after the family reunion dinner, the young members of the all the families pay respect and bow to their elders and parents.

Kitchen God

Bidding farewell to Zaowang, who is the Kitchen God of the Chinese is an important tradition of the New Year. The Kitchen God is considered as guardian of Chinese family hearth. According to traditions, it is believed that the Kitchen God leaves the house on 23rd of the month prior to the New Year. He goes to heaven for reporting about the different household. During this time, all the families engage themselves in appeasing the Kitchen God. A ritualistic dinner farewell is organized with honey and sweet foods. The Kitchen God returns on the foremost day of the New Year. During his stay in the heaven, the families prepare themselves for the upcoming celebrations.

Visiting temples

One of the common traditional customs of Lunar New Year is visiting temples and playing homage to the ancestors.

Traditional events of Chinese New Year

Acrobats, lion and dragon dances, theatrical shows, fireworks displays form the major traditional events of the New Year celebrations. Firecrackers that symbolic of warding off evils are burnt on the first two weeks of New Year.

Author's Bio: 

This article is written by Elsa Thomas who is fond of writing articles and blogs on various topics such as education, gift ideas, travel, etc