There are now only a few hours left for the Chinese New Year, a holiday celebrated not only in mainland China but also in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and other Asian countries.
In the Chinatowns of New York, London, Vancouver and Sydney there are great celebrations for what has become one of the most celebrated anniversaries in the world.
Even in Italy, in Prato, Rome, Milan and Turin, the Chinese communities carefully prepare this feast, faithfully following the tradition that has multiple symbolic meanings.
We tell you some of them:
Many of the dishes that are put on the table for Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner are foods that are traditionally eaten in all families, from North to South, and others that vary according to the area. In the northern areas, for example, ravioli are the traditional food of the Christmas Eve dinner, while in the regions south of the Yangtze River it is customary to eat spring rolls or “glutinous rice cakes” (the so-called zongzi).
The 6 superstitions
1. No medicines
Taking medications on the first day of the Lunar New Year, as well as preparing decoctions or infusions of traditional Chinese medicine, brings a lot of bad luck and health problems may occur.
In some areas of China, at the stroke of midnight which announces the beginning of the new year, some containers are broken that contain the ingredients for the medicines (mushrooms, herbs, roots, berries for infusions …), just to remove diseases from the house.
2. No cleaning
Cleaning on the first day of the year takes away good luck and well-being. Even taking out the trash does not bode well for the New Year, as it symbolizes taking wealth away from home.
3. Be careful what you eat
Rice gruel, a food considered “poor”, once the basic diet of the population, is prohibited. Out of respect for the Buddhist deities, one does not even eat meat to respect all forms of life.
4. Don’t do laundry and don’t wash your hair
The first two days of the lunar new year do not have to do laundry as it is the birthday of the water deity (水 神, Shuishen).
If you wash your hair on the other hand, you will wash away all the luck and wealth. In fact, in Chinese the word “hair” (发, fa) is identical to the first word of the expression “get rich” (发财, facai).
5. Stay away from needles and pointed objects
Needles, scissors, sharp knives … are all dangerous objects: they are not likely to injure those who handle them, but they are also possible weapons. In short, to avoid warding off well-being and good health, it is forbidden to cut and sew on the first day of the year.
6. For those who are married…
On the first day of the first lunar month, married women cannot visit their parents’ home, it would bring a lot of bad luck to the relatives, as well as economic losses. According to tradition, in fact, the first day you visit the husband’s family and only the second day you can visit that of the wife.
On February 1, Tuesday, the year of the Tiger will begin. The celebrations will begin on the evening of January 31 with what is called the Christmas Eve dinner and will end on February 15 with the Lantern Festival which also marks the moment when prohibitions, taboos and ancient rules will end.
The year of the Tiger
The origins of the Chinese New Year date back to 3500 years ago and over the centuries the way of celebrating and celebrating the Lunar New Year has evolved hand in hand with the history of the Chinese people.
After that of the Ox, this will be the year of the Tiger, considered king of animals, a symbol of courage, security, obstinacy and determination. In particular, it is the water tiger, an event that is repeated every 60 years.