Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is a traditional holiday celebrated in China and around the world. It is a time for family gatherings, feasts, and celebrations, and is marked by several symbols and traditions that have been passed down through the generations.
Some of these symbols, such as the red envelopes and the dragon dance, are well-known even outside of China. However, many other symbols and meanings are lesser-known but no less important to the holiday. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of these classic Chinese New Year symbols and their meanings.
8 Traditional Chinese New Year Symbols and Meanings
Chinese New Year is a holiday that celebrates the beginning of the year according to the Chinese calendar. It is a time for family reunions, traditional customs, and celebrations. There are several symbols and traditions associated with the Chinese New Year that have special meanings and significance. Here are seven iconic Chinese New Year symbols and their meanings:
Red envelopes, also known as “ang pow” or “hongbao,” are traditionally given during the Chinese New Year as a way to convey well wishes and good fortune. The red color is believed to symbolize good luck and is thought to ward off evil spirits.
Red envelopes are typically filled with a small amount of money and are given to children, family members, and close friends as a sign of respect and goodwill. It is also common to give red envelopes to those who are less fortunate, such as the elderly or those in need, as a way to extend good wishes and offer support.
In Chinese culture, firecrackers are a traditional part of the celebrations for Chinese New Year. During the holiday, people often set off firecrackers to mark the beginning of the new year and to ward off evil spirits.
The use of firecrackers is also a way to celebrate and bring good luck for the coming year. The loud noises made by the firecrackers are believed to drive away any negative energy and bring in positive energy for the new year.
The Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese zodiac is a system of assigning animal symbols to the years in a 12-year cycle. It is used to determine a person’s fortune for the year, marriage compatibility, and career prospects. According to Chinese tradition, each year is associated with one of the following animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, or pig.
The Chinese zodiac and the Chinese New Year are closely linked, as the animal associated with a person’s birth year is believed to have an influence on their personality and future. People born in a particular year are said to possess the characteristics of the corresponding animal.
The Dragon and Lion Dance
The dragon and lion dances are traditional Chinese cultural performances that are often performed during Chinese New Year celebrations. The dragon dance involves a team of performers wearing a dragon costume and moving in unison to create the illusion of a dragon moving through the streets.
The lion dance involves a team of performers wearing a lion costume and performing acrobatic feats to the accompaniment of drums and gongs. Both the dragon and lion dances are believed to bring good luck and prosperity to the communities in which they are performed.
The dragon is a symbol of strength and power and is believed to bring rain, which is essential for agriculture. The lion is a symbol of courage and nobility and is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune.
The Spring Festival Couplet
The Spring Festival couplet, also known as the Chinese New Year couplet, is a traditional Chinese decoration that consists of two lines of poetry written on red paper and displayed on either side of a door or gate. The couplet is usually hung on the lintel or door frame of a house or building during the Chinese New Year.
The Spring Festival couplet is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. It is also a way to express good wishes for the new year and celebrate the start of the lunar calendar. The couplet is written in classical Chinese and consists of two lines of poetry, with each line having seven or eight characters. The couplet is traditionally written in vertical script and is read from right to left.
The Spring Festival couplet is a way for people to express their hopes and aspirations for the new year. Some common themes for the couplet include prosperity, happiness, good health, and good luck. The couplet is often written creatively and artistically, with the use of puns, wordplay, and metaphors to convey the desired message.
Nian gao, also known as Chinese New Year cake or Chinese New Year pudding, is a traditional Chinese food that is often eaten during the Chinese New Year. The word “nian” means “year” in Chinese, and “gao” means “cake” or “pudding”.
Nian gao is made from glutinous rice flour, which is mixed with water and sugar to create a thick, sticky dough. The dough is then steamed and cut into slices. Nian gao is typically sweet and is often eaten as a dessert or snack. The cake is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.
Mandarin oranges are a traditional symbol of good fortune and prosperity. They are often given as gifts during the Chinese New Year, which is a time for celebration and renewal. Mandarin oranges are believed to bring good luck and health.
The round shape and bright color of Mandarin oranges are believed to bring positive energy and happiness, and they are often displayed in bowls or baskets as decorations in homes and businesses during the holiday season.
The Spring Festival Painting
Spring Festival paintings, also known as Chinese New Year paintings, are a traditional art form that has been celebrated in China for centuries. These paintings depict scenes and symbols associated with the Chinese New Year, which is a time of celebration and renewal.
Typically, Spring Festival paintings feature bright colors and intricate details, and they often depict themes such as happiness, prosperity, and good fortune. Common subjects in these paintings include dragons, lions, fish, and other animals, as well as images of people participating in activities such as gift-giving, feasting, and dancing.
Chinese New Year is a celebration full of symbolism and meaning. Red is an important color, as it is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. The Chinese zodiac is also an integral part of the holiday, with each year being represented by a different animal and its associated characteristics.
Other symbols, such as the dragon and lion dances, fireworks, and red envelopes, all play important roles in the celebration. Overall, the symbols and meanings of Chinese New Year are deeply rooted in tradition and serve to bring people together in celebration and good cheer.
During Chinese New Year, it’s a must to give CNY hampers and gift baskets to your acquittances, friends, and family as a way to wish them good luck and health. Fortunately, FlowerAdvisor Singapore provides complete and exquisite CNY hampers and gift baskets for you.
Our CNY hampers and gift baskets have all the traditional Chinese New Year necessities, such as red envelopes, fresh oranges, nian gao, etc. Simply go through our website to see our premium selection.