A powerful symbolism is associated with the gifts Chinese people make around New Year because giving and receiving presents is also an ancient tradition, distinctive for celebrating this holiday.
The red envelopes, which we’ve already mentioned – called Lai-See or Hong-Bao – containing money, are given to young adults and children during the Lunar New Year.
Other symbolic gifts are the plum blossoms – which mean hope and courage, and also Daffodil flowers – a symbol of the New Year, or paintings illustrating these flowers, or stamps, sketches, amulets – all of them having the same strong significance as the natural flowers.
Many families keep the tradition of placing in the house a full tray with sweets, candies and dry fruits, which will be served to the guests – the prosperity tray, “Chuen-hop”, or the Tray of Togetherness. The trays are usually divided into 8 sections, for as many types of food, which are symbolizing the New Year’s importance.
The festive table set for celebrating the new coming year never lacks oranges – the symbol of wealth, and mandarins – a symbol of good fortune.
Before the New Year, the Chinese people decorate their living rooms with flower vases, with plates full of oranges or mandarins (which symbolize plenty of happiness) and a tray with sweets containing eight types of dry fruits.
In every house, there must be blossoming plants in order to symbolize the rebirth. It is believed that the flowers symbolize prosperity and a successful career. A plant which blossoms on the New Year’s Day predicts a prosperous year for the respective house.
The floral arrangements made of plum flowers, bamboo, and pine twigs are very popular and sought during this period. The plum flowers signify perseverance, the bamboo is known for its flexible wood used for making furniture, while the evergreen pine reminds of longevity. Other much-sought flowers during this time are azaleas, willow buds, peonies, lilies, and daffodils.
The tray with sweets with a circular or rectangular shape is called the “Unity Tray”. After serving few sweets from this tray, the adults place a red envelope in the middle section of the tray.
It is a moment of celebration, which starts during the last evening of the year – the Réveillon, named chú x? -, continues with the events that take place on the first day of the new year and ends with the Lampion Festival, which takes place on the fifteenth day of the year.
The midnight between years is marked, as in most corners of the world, by hundreds of fireworks and by staying up all night because, according to the tradition, if you stay awake during the New Year’s night, you will live longer.
Feng Shui Cleaning and Purification Rituals
The Lunar New Year is celebrated on February 5th 2019, but starting from the end of January, the Chinese are getting their homes ready for the big celebration. First of all, they fix everything that needs fixing in the house, but they especially repair the leaking pipes or roofs because the water, in the oriental culture, signifies abundance and it shouldn’t be wasted.
The people throw away any broken or old objects near the New Year because these items have accumulated the negative energy of the year that is just ending and they will bring bad fortune in the future.
The Chinese buy something new for the house, a piece of furniture, a new rug, a bed or some new chairs, bed sheets or ornaments.
They decorate their homes with many festive items of red color, which attract prosperity and health. The famous Chinese paper lampions are very much-sought during the Chinese New Year.
Also, very important for the people are the dog statues, the jewellery, and the decorative items embellished with the illustration of a pig. It is the zodiac sign of 2019 and everyone is expecting a present from it.
The red imprints with golden symbols are very auspicious, pots with dwarf orange trees and the traditional Chinese knots made of red silk are placed at the windows to attract the goodwill of gods.
Greetings and Blessings
Hanging on the walls and doors strips of red paper (Chun Lian), on which are written all kind of wishes, for example: “May you enjoy perpetual health” or “The star of Happiness, the Star of Health and the Star of Longevity may shine upon you”.
The traditional greeting is „Guo Nian Hao”, which means “Happy New Year”.
Another traditional Chinese greeting, which brings prosperity and luck for the new year is: 恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái): “Have a Prosperous New Year!”
Other examples of greeting :
万事如意 wàn shì rú yì – Good fortune according to your wishes
恭祝健康、幸运，新年快乐。 (gōngzhù jiànkāng, xìngyùn, xīnnián kuàilè) – Good health, good luck and much happiness throughout the year.
Gung hay fat choy: May you become prosperous