Hague Confucius Institute wishes you HAPPY SPRING FESTIVAL When is Chinese New Year celebrated? Chinese New year is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar, which falls on the day of the second new moon after the day on which the winter solstice occurs, unless there is an intercalary eleventh or twelfth month in the lead-up to the New Year. In this case, the Chinese New Year falls on the day of the third new moon after the solstice. The next time this occurs is in 2022.The New Year season lasts fifteen days. The first week is the most important and most often celebrated with visits to friends and family as well as greetings of good luck. The celebrations end on the important and colourful Lantern Festival on the evening of the 15th day of the month. 清扫房间 Get rooms cleaned: Before the New Year comes, the people completely clean the indoors and outdoors of their homes as well as their clothes, bedclothes and all their utensils. 除夕夜 New Year’s Eve: The night before the Spring Festival is traditionally called "New Year's eve". The dinner for the whole family on this day is called "New Year's Eve Dinner". Every family member is expected to return home for the dinner. For someone really can't make it, other family members will put an empty chair by the table and place an empty bowl and chopsticks on the table, indicating that he (she) is not forgotten. Traditional food prepared for the Spring Festival varies with customs in different regions. However, those with auspicious names, meanings or shapes are favored, such as "New Year Cake" (niangao in Chinese, means "higher year", suggesting better fortune in the new year, and has the shape of gold and silver blocks), dumplings, the shape of which is similar to ingots, suggesting bringing in wealth and treasure, as well as fish symbolizing amassing fortunes. 饺子 Jiaozi: People in northern China will eat jiaozi, or dumplings, for breakfast, as they think “jiaozi” in sound means “bidding farewell to the old and ushering in the new”. Also, the shape of the dumpling is like gold ingot from ancient China. So people eat them and wish for money and treasure. 年糕 Niangao: Southern Chinese eat niangao (New Year cake made of glutinous rice flour) on this occasion, because as a homophone, niangao means “higher and higher, one year after another.” The first five days after the Spring Festival are a good time for relatives, friends, and classmates as well as colleagues to exchange greetings, gifts and chat leisurely. 放鞭炮 Burning fireworks: Burning fireworks is the most typical custom on the Spring Festival. People thought the spluttering sound could help drive away evil spirits. 大年初一 The first day of the first lunar month：It is regarded as the New Year of the Chinese - the Spring Festival. It is the most important and ceremonious traditional festival in China, just as Christmas Day to the westerners. Happy New Year 拜年 Paying New Year calls: This is an important custom during the Spring Festival. On lunar New Year's Day, people visit friends and relatives, exchanging greetings and wishing them a happy new year in auspicious words. It is a way to ring out the Old Year and ring in the New Year and to send good wishes to one another. 节日饰品 Festival Decorations: As the Spring Festival approaches, streets are lightened up with lanterns, flowers and other decorations, making an atmosphere of new year. “福”到 FU comes: The Chinese character “fu” (meaning blessing or happiness) is a must. The character put on paper can be pasted normally or upside down, for in Chinese the “reversed fu” is homophonic with “fu comes“, both being pronounced as “fudaole.” What’s more, two big red lanterns can be raised on both sides of the front door. Red paper-cuttings can be seen on window glass and brightly colored New Year paintings with auspicious meanings may be put on the wall. 春联 Spring Festival couplets: Then people begin decorating their clean rooms featuring an atmosphere of rejoicing and festivity. All the door panels will be pasted with Spring Festival couplets (春联 chunlian), highlighting Chinese calligraphy with black characters on red paper. The content varies from house owners’ wishes for a bright future to good luck for the New Year. Also, pictures of the god of doors and wealth will be posted on front doors to ward off evil spirits and welcome peace and abundance. 恭喜发财 Greeting expressions and Gift money: Waking up on New Year, everybody dresses up. First they extend greetings to their parents. Then each child and unmarried members of the family will get money as a New Year gift, wrapped up in red paper. 回娘家 Married daughters returning to parents' home: The second day of the Chinese New Year is usually for visiting the family of the wife if a couple is married. The two most popular greetings during the Chiense New Year celebration season are (in Mandarin): “恭喜发 财 Gong Xi Fa Cai”, and “新年快乐 Xin Nian Kuai Le”. These roughly mean “Congratulations and be prosperous (financially)”, and “Happy New Year”. 舞龙\舞狮、吃元宵 Dragon and lion dancing & Eating sweet dumplings: The lively atmosphere not only fills every household, but permeates to streets and lanes. A series of activities such as dragon and lion dancing, dragon lantern dancing, lantern festivals and temple fairs will be held for days. People eat sweet dumplings on the Lantern Festival to denote union, harmony and happiness for the family. The Spring Festival then comes to an end when the Lantern Festival is finished.