What are Chinese New Year traditions and customs and what is Tomb-Sweeping Day?

But what activities take place at this time of celebration and what is Tomb-Sweeping Day all about?

What are the Chinese New Year traditions?

Chinese New Year celebrations last for around two weeks.

Many of the decorations – which typically include lanterns and paintings – feature the colour red as it is a symbol of good luck in Chinese culture.

Revellers will wear traditional Chinese clothing such as colourful silks to represent joy and good fortune.

Many people will visit Chinese temples to pray for good luck and burn incense sticks, before heading off to enjoy lavish firework shows that are thought to scare off bad spirits.

Parades are popular, with families flocking to watch costumed dancers dressed as dragons and lions.

People often give red envelopes of money to friends and family during the period, and some like to offer food and drink to their ancestors.

Feasting plays a central part of the festivities and many people will eat traditional food and make dumplings to enjoy.

On the final day of Chinese New Year, large decorative lanterns are used to celebrate the Lantern Festival.

Anything else I need to know about Chinese New Year celebrations?

  • Greetings: Happy New Year is 'Xin Nian Kuai Le' (pronounced sing nee-ann koo-why ler) in Mandarin and 'San Nin Faai Lok' (pronounced san knee fy lock) in Cantonese.
  • Dressing up: Red is the traditional colour of Chinese New Year. Wear a ruby scarf, jumper or shoes to bring good luck for the coming year – and paint your kids' faces with Rooster designs.
  • What to eat: Order a whole chicken, a fish dish and dumplings in a Chinese restaurant. The chicken will bring happiness, and the fish good fortune.
  • Aim high: Chinese superstition dictates that going somewhere high on New Year's Day will bring you good luck in business and education.

What is Tomb-Sweeping Day?

Tomb-Sweeping Day, also known as the Qingming Festival, is a day to celebrate life and honour the dead.

It is held early April each year and this year falls on Thursday, April 5.

On the day, people will go and visit their ancestors’ graves and offer food and burn incense to commemorate them.

You may even see people burning paper money as an offering to the dead so the deceased can buy what they wish in the afterlife.

One of the most popular activities is to fly a kite with lanterns attached to the end.

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