Happy Spring Festival!

As the biggest festival of the year comes, people in China and East Asian will celebrate the coming of spring and the New Year. In addition to decorating their houses, taking time off work and school to visit family, and enjoying traditional food, Chinese people have specific customs for each day of the Festival.  These traditions are meant to start the year with good fortune.

Do these 7 things during the first 7 days of the Spring Festival, and you too can enjoy good luck all year long!

Jada, from North Carolina; Emese, from Hungary; Allyson, from Northern Cheyenne Reservation; Naomi, from Crow Reservation; Haruhi, from Japan, Elijah, from Arizona; and Ruby, from Guatemala share their Chinese Paper Cutting designs at the end of the Chinese Language and Culture elective

GYV participants show off examples of Spring Festival decorations during the Chinese Culture & Language elective

The first day of the Spring Festival: Don’t clean the house. In China, cleaning the house during Spring Festival means you will clean away all the fortune and luckiness away as well. Therefore, Chinese families make a point to clean house before the Spring Festival. Avoid throwing away your trash until after the third Festival day because if you throw something from your house away before then, your luckiness may also be thrown away, too!

Day 2: Visit the in-laws. On the second day of the spring festival, married couples will visit the wife’s parents.  Husbands bring special gifts to their in-laws.  It is customary to take a family photo on this day.

Day 3: Visit the temple. Some families spend the day worshiping tradition Chines gods at temple.  Other families may stay home and offer fruit and other food to family gods.  Still other families take this time to visit relatives and friends.

Day 4:Stay home, get rich. According to the tale, the God of Wealth will come to everyone’s house on the fourth day of the Spring Festival. So it’s not a good day to visit others.

The fifth day: Play with fire. On the fifth day, people will set off firecrackers to drive away the “five poor things”: poor in wisdom, poor in learning, poor in words, poor in life, and poor in networking. People get up early on this day and clean the house.  Firecrackers are set off as people walk through the door from inside to outside, symbolizing the pushing away of all unlucky things.

The sixth day: Go Shopping. Store and restaurant will open on the sixth day for shopping and dining.  Business owners set of firecrackers as a symbol of good luck and fortune in the New Year. Families also empty their homes of rubbish from the day before, as a symbol of throwing away anything unlucky.

The seventh day: Respect Everyone. According to ancient Chinese legend, the god created in the following order: chickens, dogs, pigs, goats, ox, horses, human, and valleys. On this day people celebrate the birthday of mankind by respecting others. Parents will not blame their children, and all people honor the wisdom and accomplishment of mankind. (Respect?  That sure sounds like a Universal Value.  Learn about Universal Values and why they are important to leadership: http://globalyouthvillage.org/lets-talk-values/)

Do you celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival?  Does your family or family celebrate the coming of Spring in a different way? Share with us in the comment section below!