It’s almost here, the biggest celebration on the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 8. These stories and New Year’s traditions will get you into the spirit of the celebrations.
The legend of the biggest lanterns, 燈籠 (deng lóng)
A long, long time ago a hunter accidentally killed a god’s favorite pet bird. The god was so angry that he asked his soldiers to set fire to the village on the fifth day of the first lunar month.
One of the god’s kindly daughters couldn’t bear to see the tragedy happen, and risked her life to warn the people of the village.
The people panicked, but a village elder came up with a brilliant idea. They hung lanterns, lit firecrackers, and set off fireworks to make the god think that the village was burning down. And it worked!
Since then, this tradition occurs every fifth day of the first lunar month to ward off disaster.
The 15th day of the New Year is the Lantern Festival. It is the last day of the festival celebrations.
Pre-festival preparations: decorating
Bright colors, red and gold, symbols of good fortune, properity, surplus, and longevity are seen in Chinese New Year decorations in all buildings and homes.
Pre-festival preparations: plants
Plants, flowers, and fruit are popular items used for decorations and good luck. Mandarin oranges, 橘子 (jú zi), mean good luck because the pronunciation is similar to the word for “auspicious,” 吉祥 (jí xiáng). They are very popular gifts and decorations.
Bamboo plants, 竹子 (zhú zi) are believed to promote wealth and increase business.
An expensive favorite is the peach flower tree, 桃花 (táo huā), which indicates that spring is coming and also is a sign of romance for young people to find their dream lovers.
Many people purchase a big peach tree for their home, or a large peach tree makes a beautiful decoration in shopping malls, which make the holidays feel more lively.