Chinese New Year's Eve
The last day of the lunar year is the Chinese New Year's Eve (Chinese: 除夕, 年三十)
to worship ancestors and have family reunion dinner.
The Chinese New Year's Eve falls on the following dates in the Gregorian calendar:
|Year 2011||Wednesday||February 2, 2011||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2012||Sunday||January 22, 2012||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2013||Saturday||February 9, 2013||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2014||Thursday||January 30, 2014||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2015||Wednesday||February 18, 2015||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2016||Sunday||February 7, 2016||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2017||Friday||January 27, 2017||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2018||Thursday||February 15, 2018||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2019||Monday||February 4, 2019||Chinese New Year's Eve|
|Year 2020||Friday||January 24, 2020||Chinese New Year's Eve|
The origin of the Chinese New Year's Eve can be traced back thousands of years,
involving a series of colorful legends and traditions.
One of the most famous legends is Nian, an extremely cruel and ferocious beast
that the ancients believed would devour people on New Year's Eve.
To keep Nian away, red-paper couplets are pasted on doors, torches are lit,
and firecrackers are set off throughout the night,
because Nian is said to fear the color red, the light of fire, and loud noises.
Early the next morning, as feelings of triumph and renewal fill the air at successfully
keeping Nian away for another year, the most popular greeting heard is "gong xi fa cai",
Ancestor Worshiping (祭祖) -
Family is viewed as a closely united group of living and dead relatives.
Ancestor worship is a religious practice based on the belief that deceased family members
have a continued existence, that the spirits of deceased ancestors will look after the family,
take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living.
Before the reunion dinner, the spirits of the ancestors are invited to join the celebration and
fruits, food, sweets, flowers and tea will be offered to them.
Reunion Dinner (团年饭, 团圆饭, 年夜飯) -
The reunion dinner marks a family gathering on the Lunar New Year’s Eve
and the Chinese consider it to be the most important part of the celebration.
Children are supposed to return to their families, married couples will go the the male's parents house.
If a family member couldn't participate in the grand feasting, his or her presence is usually symbolized
by placing an empty seat at the banquet.
Guarding the Year (守岁) -
After finishing reunion dinner, all family members will gather to stay awake all night watching the year change,
as it is believed to delay the aging process of the more elderly family members and hence increase longevity.
At midnight, the whole family eats dumpling (饺子), to wish for a good and prosperous year.
New Year's Coins (压岁钱) -
In ancient time, the elderly of the family would thread coins with a red string
and place it under children's pillows to protect them from the monster "Nian(年)".
Today, coins threaded with a red string are replaced with money in a red envelope (紅包).
Launch Fireworks (燃爆竹) -
At midnight, fireworks of all shapes and sizes are launched to scare away the monster "Nian(年)".
Firecrackers with red paper are the most popular.
It is also believed the more fireworks and noise there are, the more luck there will be in the New Year.