This year, Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, officially begins on February 5th. It is China's most important traditional festival of the year, but is celebrated by several East Asian countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and more.
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The symbolic lanterns are hung up around the cities during important festivals. The color red symbolizes good fortune, happiness, and to ward off bad luck, while gold represents wealth. Other decorations include having a kumquat tree in one's home, displaying paper cut-outs of good fortune on doors and windows, and decorating the homes with blooming flowers and plants.
Red envelopes symbolize a gesture of sharing blessings with others. It is given by seniors to juniors, adults to children, and from married couples to family members who are younger and unmarried. Do's: express gratitude when receiving one. Don'ts: it is impolite when receiving the envelope with just one hand or if opening the envelope in front of the person who gave it to you
As one traditional story goes, on New Year's Eve, a monster, Nian, would come out to eat villagers and destroy their houses. It is believed that the powerful sound of the firecrackers would ward the evil spirits away and the tradition continued on. Now the lighting of the firecrackers also celebrate the coming of the New Year. Firework shows are also held in Hong Kong and Shanghai.