We’re sure you’ve got plenty of your
own important Spring Festival customs –
like taking well-deserved time off work, going on travels and having a few celebratory drinks –
but how about the more traditional
Chinese New Year customs?
From gift giving to flat decoration,
here’s a handful of other practices to
help you ring in the new year like the locals.
Known to the locals as hongbao,
these little red envelopes are filled with cash and given to friends and family during Spring Festival – this much you probably knew already.
But there are a couple of other things you should know when it comes to handing out hongbaos:
•During Spring Festival, red envelopes are
known as yasuiqian, which translates literally
to ‘money used to supress the devil’ –
even more reason to hand them out.
•It’s good luck to put an even
amount of money in the envelope –
but it’s the first number that should be even.
For example, 600RMB brings good luck,
but 700RMB is said to do the opposite.
like 10 or 50RMB are perfectly acceptable
and frequent amounts to find in a hongbaos.
•However, figures like 400RMB
should be avoided. The number 4 (si)
in Chinese sounds similar to the word for death.
•On the flipside, 6s and 8s are positive – 6 (liu) sounds similar to the word for smooth, while 8 (ba) sounds like the word for wealth.
As well as red envelopes,
it’s customary to exchange gifts like fruit,
chocolate, cakes, biscuits and sweets too.
Don’t go handing out any old pressies though –
there are lots of symbols and hidden meanings
to some items that make them
less than desirable gifts:
•White or black items,
as they’re often associated with funerals
•Clocks or watches,
as they suggest that time is running out
•Shoes or sandals, as they symbolise
walking away from a relationship
that it’s good luck to wear red during
the Spring Festival period. New clothes
are also worn to symbolise the new year too.
the auspicious red colour scheme here.
There are red, oval-shaped lanterns hanging
as far as the eye can see at this time of year.
Feel free to hang some up inside to bring
some of the festive spirit into your home.
Dragon and Lion Dances 舞龙舞狮
The high-energy, loud drum-backed dances are
said to ward off evil spirits for the year ahead.
complete without a whole load of
customary food – stay tuned for
next week’s article where we’ll give you
the low-down on how to chow down
during Spring Festival.