My Hometown’s Chinese New Year Traditions

Written by Dakota Wang

My name is Dakota Wang and I was born and raised in China. I witnessed the changes of the times from 1998 to 2021. When I was still a child, we didn’t have a mobile and a computer, but we truly enjoyed our spring festival. We lighted the fireworks together, we sat together and enjoyed TV on the eve of the New Years. We would cook what we didn’t cook generally at that time.

However, currently many people complain that we can’t feel the spring festival atmosphere anymore since all of us are very busy. We are busy playing our mobile phones, we are busy going back to work and we are busy making money. Here, the only way we can feel the atmosphere is the loudness of fireworks.

At 00 am on the first day of January, we will light the fireworks to welcome the New Year’s. When we woke up, we would receive lucky money from the older after New Year’s greetings. I am sad that we are losing the atmosphere of spring festival. Therefore, I want to record some traditions when I still recall them.

Snatch the first bucket of water

When it is 12am on the first day of Chinese New Year (lunar calendar), we will rush to the well to snatch the first bucket of water. We have to rush to the well before the middle of night. Every family will ask one person to get that water. Since according to Five Elements (a systematic view of ancient Chinese philosophy, widely applied to Chinese medicine, divination, physiognomy and numerology), gold produce water because golden miner is always near water. Therefore, people want to get the first bucket of water which means earning the first pot of gold in business. In Dali (a place in Yunnan province), snatching the first bucket of water means gaining the initiative and winning the first prize. On New Year’s Eve, Bai minorities wear bright and ethic clothes while holding a string of firecracker and carry a bucket, happily rushing to the well. When it is 12 am, they light the fireworks together, then to snatch that water. Every family will use the first bucket of water to cook noodles or meat balls to give out the older, giving the best wishes to them. After the older receive gifts, they will give lucky money in that bowl for wishing healthy growing, good happiness. 

Cooking glutinous rice cake

On 20th, February, people in Xiangxi will cook glutinous rice cake (new year cake made of sticky rice) to stick birds’ mouth. Since in the past, many farmers made a living by farming. However, the yield was not high at that time while there were too many birds which always ate their rice so that they held this tradition to protect their foodstuff. Besides, we can’t pour water this day as well because it is said that once you pour water, your house will have leaks.

How to make glutinous rice cake?

Firstly, we will steam the sticky rice.

Secondly, we will put the steamed sticky rice into a groove like in the pictures.

Thirdly, we will hammer it hundreds of times until all rice can stick together. 

Lastly, we will fashion it into a round shape. 

Do not empty the garbage

Taking out the garbage is prohibited from 1 to 5 January (lunar calendar). Since it is said that dumping garbage will accidentally spill on the gods, and if gods are angry, they will bring bad luck to people. In general, we empty the garbage on the fifth day of the first month (lunar calendar). After lighting the fireworks in the morning, we can take out the garbage. 

62 comments

    • 😁hello, friend! It is my pleasure that you read this article. I am happy to spread my local traditions. Thanks for your comment~
      I will write more and more articles.
      Hope you have a nice day ~🌹🌹
      Dakota Wang

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello. Thank you for your appreciation. I am really happy that I can share these traditions with you. Even if I can’t reverse the loss, sharing my memories is my own way to preserve it. 😬 Besides, I am extremely happy to have you like this article. 🌹🌹
      Best wishes for you ~
      Dakota Wang.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Happy New Year~
      I will try my best to held these traditional activities at my home. The reason why I am documenting these traditions is that I hope many years later, when people are curious about the old traditions, they can still have materials to read. Just like myself, I am always curious about what happened in the past, how their traditions are. Sadly, I can’t figure all out clearly. So, that’s for myself and others as well.
      Thanks for your comments ~
      Hope you have a nice day 🌹
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 2 people

    • 😬😬😬it is my pleasure to introduce these traditions to you.
      🌹🌹I will write more and more~
      Thank you for reading this article.
      Have a great time ~
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 1 person

    • 新年好~
      祝你新年快乐,万事如意,心想事成,平平安安,健健康康,开开心心,快快乐乐。😬😬😬🌹🌹🌹😅
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 1 person

      • 谢谢💖祝您一切顺利,所有的愿望成真,健康与幸福,和平与安全🌹🌹

        Liked by 2 people

    • Hello, friend! Thanks for your wishes. Yes. I found it is amazing that even if we live in different countries, but there are still many things connected. 😇😇😇
      Thank you for reading this article.
      Have a great time.🌹🌹🌹
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hello, dear friend. You are welcome. It is my pleasure to have chance to share my local traditions.
      🤗🤗🤗
      Thank you for your likes~
      Have a great time ~
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Fantastic story. It is amazing how different countries celebrate the New Year. I know it is hard to see traditions disappear, however if we strive to keep them alive, we can pass it on to future generations.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes. You are right. It is very hard to see traditions disappear. 😞😞 even though it is hard for one or two people to achieve it. But it is better than nothing.
      Thanks for your comment.
      I hope you have a wonderful day ~
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 1 person

      • Passing it on to your kids or others’ kids one day will certainly help reverse the trend. So it is not about merely one or two people trying to make a difference, but one has to see it in a generational way. Sharing your knowledge of these traditions online is only the first step, because this helps you organise your memories and once they are properly organised, you can teach the knowledge obtained from your recollection more easily to others, whether they be adults or your own kids or the kids of others.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I always recall my childhood as well. It was very valuable and beautiful memories. 😇😇 at that time, we were very innocent. Our life was full of joys as well. As time going by, 🙃more and more we feel is pressure and reality. 😫 a bit sad sometimes. But it is the cost of growing up.
      Thank you for reading this article ~
      😁😁
      Have a great day~
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi~🤡🤡🤡you are very nice~
      You reblogged all my articles ~
      Thank you for supporting us~
      😆😆have a great time ~
      Dakota Wang~

      Like

    • It is my pleasure to share my traditions to you~😁😁😁
      Thanks for your comments
      I will introduce more and more cultures to you.
      Have a nice day ~🌹🌹😊
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I really like these traditions as well. 🌹🌹
      It is my pleasure to share this to you guys~
      Hope you have a nice day ~🤓
      Dakota Wang

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing this. It is so important to embrace one’s tradition and sharing it with the world is so much nicer. I hope people take out some time from their busy lives to realise how scientifically evolved and happy these traditions are, being one with Nature.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are welcome, dear friend ~
      It is very important that we can embrace our old traditions~ I hope we can 😞keep our own traditions while integrating with other cultures. But the reality is opposite. 😭people prefer to celebrate popular traditions instead of locals.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
      Have a great time ~
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I also enjoyed reading this. The food looks amazing. I definitely would want to try that rice dish!!
    When I was a little girl(a long time ago 😉) I remember that there was a tradition in Scotland where you had to take a piece of coal out of one door (I think it was the back door) and run around the house and bring it in through the other door. I can’t remember the symbolism of it though. Also we have the tradition of the first footer. The first footer is the first person to cross your threshold in the new year. They must bring a gift or it is bad luck. I found that one quite difficult when we moved to Germany. It’s not a tradition here, so people would turn up without a gift and I felt quite agitated. But I couldn’t exactly send them away with the instruction „bring me a present!“

    Liked by 4 people

    • Very interesting with the coal! It immediately reminded me of the book “The Tradition Of Household Spirits” by Claude Lecouteux. It’s a truly excellent book. On pg. 46, I found a note about cinders from the Yule long being carried around property to protect livestock from disease. He says that was in Basque country. If it is all right to ask: did you run in a particular direction, or was either clockwise or counter-clockwise O.K.? The tradition of the first person crossing the threshold bringing a present is also very interesting!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Hello, I am interested in the Scottish traditions as well. 😁this tradition sounds very interesting. Does this tradition run in a particular direction? Which one it is? I never heard such traditions in my life. Thank you for your comments and sharing the information. This comment is very detailed.
        Hope you have a nice day ~
        Dakota Wang~
        🌹🌹

        Liked by 2 people

      • No it was more important which door. I think it was the back to the front symbolizing leaving the old year and entering the new.
        Traditions are so interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry for the late response!
        I think it was more important which door to which door. I think it was actually from the back to the front symbolizing the end of one year and the beginning of the next.
        We lived in a semi so there was only one direction. 😉
        I think most people brought alcohol. But sometimes chocolates. Or some other food.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Hello, Sarsm! Thank you for sharing your traditions here. 😁😁it sounds very interesting. I like these traditions. Here in China, we will bring gift to our relatives. It is our tradition to visit relatives at this time. Since it is the best time for us to get together with them. We have a tradition here about door. We will a kind of duck eggs behind the door at the beginning of summer to avoid sickness in summer. 😅 according to other legend, in summer, our appetites are not that good, duck eggs are cold food named by Chinese medicine,which can relieve internal heat.
      😄😄😄have a nice day ~🌹🌹
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 2 people

    • 👍👍👍thank you for your wishes. 🤗🤗🤗we hope you have a very good time. You are very kind. 🤓with your wishes, we can feel more warm~
      Best wishes to you ~👍🌹
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 2 people

    • 🤗hello,do you have this tradition as well? Or 😅your wife thinks you dislike taking out garbage…..I am sorry… I am not sure if I can say it in this way…..
      Looking forward to your reply
      Have a nice day ~
      Dakota Wang~

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you~
      It is my pleasure to intrigue you. 🤔
      I will write more and more.
      Have a nice day~

      Like

    • Hi. Thanks for your appreciation. 😬I am happy that I can introduce my hometown’s culture here.
      Hope you have a nice day

      Like

  4. Very interesting. I can say that I have lived my life, first in Europe, now in America and never thought about the traditions that are in China. Thanks to you, I got to know something different and new to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A very entertaining read and a good post. Thank you for sharing your traditions and culture and I love your pictures of your food. My mouth waters when I look at them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Dakota Wang,

    Congratulations to you on composing this very fine post about the Spring Festival entitled “My Hometown’s Chinese New Year Traditions”!

    Given the quality and relevance of your post, I have also hyperlinked it to my post entitled “🦅 SoundEagle in Chinese New Year Celebration, Spring Festival, Lion Dance, Food, Ornaments, Traditional Culture and Architecture 🏮🎋🦁🥗🎐㊗️⛩” so that my readers can access your post with ease.

    The said post is published at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2020/02/02/soundeagle-in-chinese-new-year-celebration-spring-festival-lion-dance-food-ornaments-traditional-culture-and-architecture/#top

    Happy June to you!

    Yours sincerely,
    ჱܓSoundEagle🦅

    Like

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