Chinese New Year Practices

During the Chinese Lunar New Year, one must keep all of the lights within the house on. This is for wealth and good luck. Also one eats spring dumplings, dumplings without meat. Red signs wishing good luck and prosperity are hung around the house.

C is an older Chinese immigrant who migrated to the US over 20 years ago. She still has very close contact with relatives in China and regularly participates in Chinese cultural practices.

Context: I interviewed C about Chinese cultural customs and beliefs.

I find this interesting because of the level of detail that goes into a new years celebration. Typically in American tradition, New Years is celebrated with watching a clock tick to the New Year. This is different to the Chinese New Year celebration in that there is more meanings to the events that occur in the Chinese New Year as well as a stronger emphasis on prosperity and wealth. The popular saying, 恭喜發財, “Gong Xi Fa Cai” Or “Wish you prosperity and wealth” actively wishes the person wealth. Overall, wealth is a strong goal in Chinese culture, where everyone’s goal is to become wealthy. Wealth as a goal is not seen as inherently greedy, more of something to attain through diligence, not ruthlessness.

For another version of Chinese New Year, see:
Lin, G. (2013). Bringing in the New Year. Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.