“Happy Lunar New Year” aka “Chúc Mừng Năm Mới” aka “Gong Xi Gong Xi” or however you want to say it and whichever language you want to say it, tis the season of Chinese New Year and you know what that means right? Red envelopes, fireworks, “cleaning up” etc., these are some of the traditional components that make up the the Chinese culture that we know today. But why are these traditions so significant and why are they celebrated they way they are?
In the days building up to Chinese New Year, we begin to see bags of red envelopes in certain grocery stores and in all asian markets. Now why are red envelopes celebrated? Why are they such a big deal in Chinese culture? Traditional red envelopes are designed with gold Chinese characters as well as pictures celebrating the new year. It is a huge tradition for families and relatives to offer cash in these red envelopes, particularly to children or the younger generation of the family. The reason behind this is because it represents luck and prosperity to the up and coming year. It is like a way to say “good luck” to the recipient of the offering.
When the clock strikes midnight, just like the way Americans celebrate New Year, the Chinese also celebrate by using fireworks. However, the Chinese use fireworks for different reasons. Americans use fireworks as a sign of celebration, while the Chinese believe that it is necessary to ignite fireworks on the days counting up to the big day because they believe that the explosion of the fireworks will scare away all evil superstitions. It is believed that they will drive all the evils away. The start of a new year should only welcome luck; all evils should be kept away.
It is also a huge tradition to clean up your house for the New Year. In the days prior to the New Year, people will begin to clean their entire house. This is because they believe that the beginning of the New Year represents a fresh start to the house. The start of the new year should welcome a brand new house.