Traditional Chinese Lunar New Year Celebrations

Posted on January 01, 2024 by Derelle Ball

Chinese Lunar New Year is a celebration steeped in tradition, symbolism, and the joyous spirit of new beginnings! This year we enter the Lunar Year of the Jia Chen/Wood Dragon on 10 February, marked by a New Moon in Aquarius connecting with the energy of change and encouraging us to being open to new ways of seeing and doing things. 

As the lunar calendar turns its page, families around the globe gear up for a spectacular feast of festivities and rituals that span days of preparation and culminate in joyous celebrations.

Join us as we embark on a journey through the days preceding and during Chinese New Year festivities, where cherished customs, delectable dishes, and heartfelt traditions weave a tapestry of cultural richness.

From the lively buzz of cleaning homes and decking them in red hues to the sumptuous Reunion Dinner and the crackling excitement of fireworks, each moment holds significance. So, let's dive into the heart-warming preparations, symbol-laden practices, and the jubilant reunions that make Chinese New Year such an enchanting tapestry of culture and renewal.  (Note: the solar new year of Jia Chen, governing the annual Feng Shui energy influences, began on 4 February).  


Preceding Days Leading up to Chinese Lunar New Year

Prepare Traditional Porridge (Làbāzhōu):

    • On the eighth day of the lunar month, prepare làbāzhōu, a traditional porridge served in remembrance of the festival called Là.
    • Serve the first bowl to ancestors and household deities, then distribute the porridge to family and friends.

Thorough Cleaning of Homes:

    • Several days before the New Year celebration, clean your home thoroughly to sweep away bad luck from the previous year.
    • Follow the Cantonese saying "Wash away the dirt on ninyabaat" and ensure a clean and welcoming environment for good luck.

Decoration and Red Painting:

    • Decorate homes with red paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets.
    • Some may paint doors and window-frames with red paint for good luck.
    • Purchase new clothing and shoes and get a fresh haircut to symbolize a new beginning.

Settle Debts and Express Gratitude:

    • Businesses should pay off outstanding debts and express gratitude to associates and extended family by sending gifts and rice.

Cleaning of Altars and Sending Gods:

    • Clean home altars and statues thoroughly, replacing decorations from the previous year.
    • Taoists may "send gods," such as burning a paper effigy of the Kitchen God.

Thanksgiving Prayer Offering:

    • Conduct a thanksgiving prayer offering to mark the safe passage of the previous year.
    • Confucianists take the opportunity to remember and revere ancestors.

Reunion Dinner Preparation:

    • Prepare for the Reunion Dinner, the most significant event on Chinese New Year's Eve.
    • Consider serving a dish featuring fish for prosperity.

Cultural Practices:

    • In northern China, make dumplings after dinner, symbolizing wealth.
    • In the South, prepare a glutinous new year cake (niangao) as gifts for relatives and friends.

Countdown and Prayer at Temples:

    • Attend local temples hours before the new year begins for prayers or hold household parties with countdowns.
    • Traditionally, firecrackers were used to scare away evil spirits.


*First Day of the Lunar New Year*

Welcoming Deities:

    • Welcome deities of the heavens and earth officially at midnight with fireworks and firecrackers.
    • Abstain from meat consumption for longevity.

Honouring Elders:

    • Honour elders by visiting parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
    • Avoid using brooms, and consider it bad luck to do so.

Symbolic Rituals:

    • Invite a lion dance troupe for symbolic rituals.
    • Married family members give red packets (lai see or angpow) to junior members for blessings.

Fireworks and Firecracker Alternatives:

    • In areas where fireworks are banned, enjoy large-scale fireworks displays organized by city governments.

Second Day of the Lunar New Year

Visiting Birth Parents:

    • Married daughters visit their birth parents, relatives, and close friends.
    • Householders reward messengers with "lucky money."

Business Prayers:

    • Business people, especially of the Cantonese dialect group, hold a 'Hoi Nin' prayer for good luck and prosperity.

Third Day of the Lunar New Year

Chìkǒu (赤口):

    • Also known as Chìgǒurì, avoid socializing and visiting relatives and friends.
    • Rural villagers continue the tradition of offering prayers beside burning rubbish dumps.

Temple Visits:

    • Consider visiting the temple of the God of Wealth and have one's future told.

Fourth Day of the Lunar New Year

Corporate Spring Dinners:

    • In communities celebrating for only two or three days, corporate "spring dinners" kick off, and business returns to normal.

Fifth Day of the Lunar New Year

God of Wealth's Birthday:

    • In northern Mainland China, eat dumplings on Pòwǔ (破五).
    • Businesses traditionally re-open on the sixth day with firecrackers.

Firecrackers for Guan Yu:

    • Shoot off firecrackers on the 5th day to get Guan Yu's attention for good fortune.

Seventh Day of the Lunar New Year

Rénrì (人日):

    • Celebrate the common man's birthday.
    • In Southeast Asia, eat yusheng for continued wealth and prosperity.
    • For Chinese Buddhists, it's a day to avoid meat.

Eighth Day of the Lunar New Year

Celebration for Jade Emperor's Eve:

    • Another family dinner is held to celebrate the eve of the Jade Emperor's birth.
    • Government agencies and businesses stop celebrating by the eighth day.

Ninth Day of the Lunar New Year

Prayers to Jade Emperor:

    • Offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven in the Daoist Pantheon.
    • Important for Hokkiens, with offerings such as sugarcane to express gratitude.

Tenth Day of the Lunar New Year

Continuation of Jade Emperor's Celebration:

    • Continue celebrations for the Jade Emperor's party.

Thirteenth Day of the Lunar New Year

Vegetarian Food Day:

    • Eat pure vegetarian food to cleanse the stomach after two weeks of festive eating.
    • Dedicated to General Guan Yu, the Chinese God of War.

Fifteenth Day of the Lunar New Year

Yuanxiao Festival/Lantern Festival:

    • Celebrate with tangyuan, sweet glutinous rice balls.
    • Light candles to guide spirits home.
    • In Malaysia and Singapore, individuals seek love partners in a tradition similar to Valentine's Day.
    • Marks the end of Chinese New Year festivities.

Australian Feng Shui Master Consultant, Derelle Ball can help you enhance the health, wealth and nurturing Feng Shui potential of your home with a detailed user-friendly Feng Shui Report.  For further information visit: Off-Site Residential Feng Shui Consultation.  

Posted in Chinese New Year, Feng Shui and New Year Celebrations


Recent Articles