Chinses New Year’s Eve is the first day of the national holiday, and the most yearned day in the entire year. Despite the distance apart, people would travel back to their hometown and reunite with their family.

There are many things to be excited about on this special day. Here are some typical activities Chinese people would do on this special day.

Reunion Dinner

Nothing is more important than gathering at home with the family on the Chinese New Year’s eve. Chinese consider the reunion dinner on this day as the most important part of the new year celebration. 

The dinner is also the most extravagant meal of the year. Chinese people eat food that symbolises good luck at dinner. Fish pronounces similar to “surplus” in Chinese, so steamed or braised whole fish is on the dinner table to wish for abundance in the coming year. For a similar reason, rice cakes are also served during the new year time to wish for exceeding the success in the following year.

Have Dumplings

Dumplings are the must-have on Chinese New Year’s Eve, especially for people from the North of China. The shape of dumplings looks like ancient Chinese silver and gold ingots, a kind of ancient Chinese money. By wrapping the fillings into the pastry, you are packing the fortune into the dumplings.
The freshly-made dumplings should be consumed at midnight to wish for a good and prosperous year. Sometimes people also add some coins into the filling, just as nineteenth-century English cooks hid silver pence inside each batch of Christmas pudding.

Chinese Dumplings

Give and receive red envelopes

Red Envelope 

A red envelope or a red packet is a monetary gift which is given during special occasions such as the Chinese New year.
Red symbolises energy, happiness and good luck to Chinese people. During the Chinese New Year, people give out red envelopes that contain money to send good wishes and luck (as well as money), so it is also called “lucky money”.
Traditionally, lucky money is given to children and unmarried young people by the elders. By doing so, elders hope to pass on a year of good fortune and blessings to the younger generations.
With the increasing acceptance of mobile payment in recent years, people can also send red envelopes via WeChat to anyone they are connected with. Digital red envelopes are becoming considerably popular, in 2017, 14.2 billion digital red envelopes were sent through social media platforms on Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Watch the Spring Festival Gala

Spring Festival Gala is one of the premier TV events in China. On Chinese New Year’s Eve, most of the Chinese tunes in to watch the Gala on the national television. It’s been a tradition ever since 1983. The show attracts people with its wonderful performance and cyber red envelopes. People can win cyber red envelopes by shaking their phones while watching TV. The 2015 Gala gave out 500 million Chinese Yuan (about US$80 million) in gift money during the four-hour show.

Light up fireworks at midnight

Chinese people believe that the flash and bangs of firecrackers and fireworks can scare away demons and evil spirits. So, people stay up on Chinese New Year’s Eve and light up firecrackers at midnight.

Today (24th Jan 2020) is the Chinese New Year’s Eve. We wish you a happy year of the rat!

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