Chinese New Year brings good luck and prosperity. During Chinese New Year, usually families gather together to have lunch or dinner. On the first day of Chinese New Year, there are things that people believe they shouldn’t do such as taking medicine, washing clothes and hair, and doing all kinds of needle work.
Besides those things to do, there are also other rituals or customs to celebrate Chinese New Year. To know more information about the main activities that Indonesian people of Chinese descent usually do, let’s check them out below.
What You Need to Know about CNY Traditions
1. Eat Lunch or Dinner Together with Family
The tradition during Chinese New Year is to get together with the whole family. People who live abroad or in other cities will go back to their hometown to celebrate CNY. This is the chance to meet their parents and other relatives.
Aside from gathering with the family, this is also the time to enjoy lunch or dinner together at grandpa’s or grandma’s house. In big cities, families can also book a room in a restaurant to enjoy delicious food together.
Some popular foods that are being served during CNY include dumplings, spring rolls, shrimp and tang yuan (black sesame). Dumpling represents prosperity. Spring rolls symbolize wealth because the shape is similar to gold bars. Moreover, peking duck represents fidelity in Chinese culture.
2. Give Angpao
Red envelopes, or also known as angpao, are gifts presented at large family gatherings. The meaning of the red color is good luck. It represents people’s blessings to other relatives who get the angpao.
Generally, only married people give angpao. Newly married couple do not need to give angpao on their first year of marriage. Angpao is given to children and single people. When you’re giving the angpao, don’t forget to say well wishes such as “Gong Xi Fa Cai”, which means wishing you an abundance of fortune.
3. Watch Traditional Lion Dance
In Chinese culture, lion symbolizes power, wisdom and superiority. Usually during the Chinese New Year, you can watch the barongsai performance everywhere in the city. In the shopping malls, in the temple or other places.
Lion dance involves several people wearing a long lion costume. The person makes a creative movement that can entertain the visitors. The loud sound of the drum represents the heartbeat of the lion. Come with your kids to watch the lion dance performance, they will love it! Don’t forget to bring angpao for the lion as well as a form of appreciation:)
4. Pray in the Temple
During Imlek, usually some Chinese people go to the temple to pray and burn incense and joss sticks. Chinese New Year is usually a busy time for temples because many people visit the place to pray for blessings for the year ahead. Some temples host a fair with local snacks, folk performances and dozens of lanterns.
Chinese New Year Tradition, Let’s Meet up With Your Family
Chinese New Year is a national holiday that you can enjoy with your families, be it by celebrating the special day, or by watching the entertaining performances that CNY brings. In Indonesia, there are many cities that celebrate CNY. If you have a free time, you can visit other cities to see the great celebration of CNY such as in Pontianak, Medan or Semarang. To find a train ticket, you can book it through tiket.com.
Don’t miss this most important holiday in China. Hopefully this time the New Year can bring goodluck, happiness for you and your family, t-mates!