Chinese New Year Eve - 2020 Year of the Rat
Chinese New Year Eve is the night of the Chinese family reunion. Chinese housewives need to prepare for the New Year Eve dinner and 15-day Chinese New Year festivals for weeks. They need to clean the entire house, put a new interior and exterior decoration, prepare new clothes and gifts for all family members, and food for many events. You can imagine that the Chinese New Year festival combines Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year together.
Chinese New Year Eve - Animal Monster Nian
In Chinese, Chinese New Year Eve is called Chu-Xi
However, the original meaning of Nian
People survived, celebrated and said congratulation to each other on the next day. People felt like a restarting point after passing the disaster. Then, they called Guo-Nian (passing Nian) the day before the new starting day.
Chinese New Year Eve - Busy before Dinner
After saying goodbye to gods and ancestors, women begin to prepare the reunion dinner. The main dish sitting in the center of the table is Hot-Pot. The traditional Hot-Pot is a big metal (alumni) bowel and has a hollow tube in the center. Chinese put rhe hot bone soup in the bowel and cook different kinds of sliced meat, seafood, vegetable, meatballs and seafood balls during the dinner. They put hot-rock or hot-coal inside the hollow tube to keep food warm. So they can eat the reunion dinner each for hours.
Chinese New Year's day usually is close to spring, but it's very often that the
weather is still cold. In ancient China, in order to eat the warm food, the Chinese
had to sit around the cooking stove for New Year Eve dinner. That's why this
dinner is also called Wei-Lu
Chinese New Year Eve - Reunion Dinner
There are many dishes on the dinner table. Every dish has an auspicious meaning behind it. It's connected to longevity, reunion, perfection, good luck, health, diligence, satisfaction or promotion based on the homophone of the dish's name. Family members are supposed to have some from every dish. So they can eat and chat for a longer time and share love and care during this time. However, the Chinese don't touch fish on the table. This is because the homophone of fish is the remainder, which means they have a surplus or extra saving at the end of the year. On the other hand, they need leftovers for Chinese New Year - nobody cooks at home.
After dinner, that's an exciting time for the
children. They are waiting for New Year's Hong Bao
The last event is the vigil to wait for the new year coming. One main reason is this can extend parents' lifespan. How can the Chinese keep them awake? It's simple. They watch TV shows for Chinese New Year special. The other way is gambling - playing Mah-Jong. Some people will gather outside the temple after reunion dinner, everyone wants to be the first person of the year to be blessed by God. There is the first incense stick race at many temples every year. One the first second of Rat hour, 11 P.M., as soon as the temple's main gate is opened, people will dash into the temple to insert the incense stick into the incense container. The winner will win a big Red-Envelope from the temple. But the most important thing is the winner will be very lucky in the coming year.
Young people like to go outside for the vigil of the year. Before midnight, they gather with friends or relatives around the park, riverside or tall buildings to wait for the Chinese New Year fireworks.
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