Euro Ceramica’s Guide to the Traditions and Practices of the Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year, otherwise known as the Spring Festival, is a time of gathering, celebration, joy, renewal, and waving goodbye to the past year while setting fresh sights on the new year. Feasting and festivities light up the world as 1 billion people rejoice in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia, and beyond.
When is the 2023 Chinese New Year?
Coinciding with the lunar calendar, the first day of the month begins during the new moon, leading the Chinese New Year to fall on a different day every year.
In 2023, the Chinese New Year will fall on January 22nd, 2023. However, you can be sure preparation is already underway, with most people planning year-round for the 16 days of fun that spread from Chinese New Year's Eve to the Chinese Lantern Festival.
Traditional Chinese New Year Practices
The New Year celebration is intended to shed the bad and old while welcoming the good and new. It's a time to worship ancestors, stave off evil spirits, pray for a good harvest, and feast!
Offering Sacrifices to Ancestors: Many Serving Dishes at the Table
Many acts of loving worship are undertaken to “repay” ancestors while thanking them for protecting and watching over the family throughout the year. For example, the spirits of the ancestors are invited to join the family in celebration, and they eat first—fruits, food, sweets, flowers, and tea form the enticing offering. Ancestors are also given their favorite foods in separate serving dishes from the rest of the family.
Lucky Red Envelopes
These ornate, gold-lined envelopes tend to contain a considerable amount of money. They’re handed over as a symbol of goodwill and good fortune–essentially saying, “I wish you the best of luck in the New Year!” While most often handed from adults to kids, there’s no age limit to who can exchange red envelopes. Here at Euro Ceramica, this is a tradition we’d love to see adopted on a worldwide scale!
Lion and Dragon Dances
There’s hustle and bustle in the streets as many dancers orchestrate their movements underneath a lengthy dragon costume, resulting in a mesmerizingly fluid spectacle of dazzle, fun, and dance. There’s little difference during lion dances, which include one dancer manipulating the head of the lion while another controls the body, making lion-like movements while people look on in awe.
Enjoying a Reunion Dinner Party
Often considered one of the most significant parts of Chinese New Year celebrations, the family reunion dinner marks the coming together of family members from far and wide, some traveling days just for this momentous occasion. Held on Lunar New Year’s eve, the dinner includes vast spreads of highly symbolic foods and serving dishes.
You might find longevity noodles alongside a whole steamed fish on this table. "Fish" is pronounced "yu," which has a similar pronunciation as the Chinese word for "surplus." That considered, eating fish symbolizes prosperity and wealth in the coming year. Some families will cook two fishes, leaving one uneaten as a sign of abundance. Likewise, sticky rice balls symbolize togetherness.
What else is on the Chinese New Year Menu?
- Spring rolls.
- Nian Gao.
- Sweet Rice Balls.
- Steamed Chicken.
- Fa Ago.
- And Citrus!
Oranges, kumquats, tangerines, and pomelos are popular Chinese New Year gifts. Alongside a vitamin c kick, they're believed to bring good luck and happiness. The Chinese words for “orange” and “tangerine” closely resemble the words for “luck” and “wealth.”The orangey-gold color of these fruits also symbolizes prosperity.
Celebrating the Chinese New Year with Euro Ceramica
At Euro Ceramica, we love celebrating the Chinese New Year in whatever way we can, after all, any excuse to break out our ancient China-inspired Blue Garden Collection is a good one, right? Moreover, Euro Ceramica’s cofounder, Joanna, hails from China, making this celebration all the more personal and special to us! So whether you follow the Lunar calendar or not, we invite you to participate in your local festivities and, most of all, enjoy yourself! Happy Chinese New Year!
And be sure to check out our recommended dinnerware items below to help you celebrate the Chinese New Year: