Traditional Chinese New Year Customs (Part 2)

At one in the morning on the first day of the New Year, we open the doors and set off firecrackers. After the blasting sound finishes little bits of red paper are all over the ground, brilliant like brocaded clouds. This is called “filling the halls with red.” In Chinese culture red represents joy. In ancient times when people “opened the doors and set off firecrackers,” there were no strings of firecrackers or gunpowder, so they exploded bamboo sticks. In traditional culture, setting off firecrackers and exploding bamboo represent eliminating evil, driving off ghosts and monsters, and chasing away pestilence. Thus when the New Year arrives the first thing families do is to set off fireworks, clearing out the old and welcoming the new.

The Chinese New Year

The lunar New year, also called the agricultural New Year or the Spring Festival, is a holiday celebrated in many Asian countries. The calendar used for calculating the lunar New Year is based on the cycles of the moon, which was extremely important in ancient agricultural societies where farmers used the lunar calendar to understand the periods of sowing, sprouting, and growth of crops.