Chinese New Year family traditions and history extend as far back as 4,000 years!! For centuries parents and kids spend this time celebrating the festivities such as the New Years Day Celebrations, Chinese Lion Dances, a Dragon Parade, and lots and lots of firecrackers!!
But like with many holidays come many preparations. Everyone in the family gets together to help. The Chinese prepare by first cleaning their home to welcome a new year with a “clean slate.” It is believed that cleaning will wash away all bad luck from the home left behind by the previous year. And after the New Year comes, you cannot sweep during the first days otherwise all the new luck will sweep away!!!
Cleaning house also means settling all your unfinished business, to start fresh for the new year: Pay off all your debts, resolve all quarrels with friends, catch up with homework!!!
Decorating the home is also a family project. Everyone makes their own red banners with New Year messages of good luck and decorate the main entrance of their house/room. Red is a very lucky color and symbolizes vitality of life and happiness. You can make your own Chinese New Year decorations with bright red paper and markers or a brush if you prefer.
The preparation of the meal for the New Year banquet is a really important. This meal must be prepared ahead of time, as one of the popular Chinese New Year superstitions dictates that all knives must be put away. Using a knife during the first days of the New Year “cuts off” all the good luck for the coming year.
The New Year’s feast takes many days to prepare. These are some of the traditional chinese new year foods served on New Year’s day and throughout the festivities:
- meat dumplings for good luck
- tangerines for good fortune
- apples for peace
- sweet rice cakes for more wealth every year
- fish for plenty
- veggies with long noodles for long life
- chicken for wealth
- mustard greens for a green year for farmers
- soup means everything better than last year
- oranges for money and wealth
- shrimp for abundance
The Lion Dancers perform to the sound of drums for the first three to five days of the New Year. They dance in front of stores and businesses to scare off the evil spirits and to bring good luck to everyone. The Dragon Parade is a highlight of the festivities. The Dragon represents wisdom, power, and wealth and a very important aspect of Chinese Culture. It is also said that the Dragon Dance performed on New Year’s Day scares away the evil spirits and all the bad luck with them. The Chinese Dragon Parade is customarily performed along with Lion Dancers, acrobats, kung fu performers, and of course, the drums and horns, all ending in a burst of firecrackers!
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.