In this day and age of fast information and globalization, we find ourselves learning and absorbing a lot from other cultures around the world. Some good, some less so.
But with the Chinese New Year looming in just 2 days, I’m curious. Are you a traditionalist? Do you keep to traditional values and cultures for celebrations at least? In fact, this is true not only for those who celebrate Chinese New Year, but for any cultural festival or just life in general.
Just how traditional are you? 🙂
I did not grow up in a very traditional household for day to day matters. My parents were pretty forward in their thinking but we did stick to certain cultural norms like respect for the elders and calling relatives by their chinese honorific titles based on age and generation. Its confusing as a child but it makes a whole lot of sense as we get older. Just one honorific title tells us whether they are our maternal or paternal relatives and their hierarchy in the family, and it was sort of fun in a way 🙂
In terms of Chinese New Year traditions, some I practice are:-
- going home for the traditional Reunion Dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year
- bringing mandarin oranges (kum) when I go home and when I visit others during the festive season – “kum” signifies gold and thus wealth and prosperity
- spring cleaning the house before Chinese New Year – to welcome the God of Prosperity to a clean house
- not sweeping the floor on New Year’s Day – so as not to sweep away good luck
- making sure we wear something new and red on the first day of the Chinese New Year – for good luck
- ensuring my rice container is full of rice – so as not to go hungry the rest of the year
- paying off all my debts before the New Year – so I don’t start the year owing money!
You can tell prosperity plays a large part in Chinese beliefs eh? LOL! 😀 I made sure to practice what I could even when I was living overseas because it was what defined Chinese New Year for me.
You might say I’m quite a traditionalist or even superstitious, and I am as I get older 😉 But so long as it doesn’t harm or inconvenience me or anyone around me, I’m happy to keep the traditions going. Its fun anyway 😀
I realise not everyone here celebrates Chinese New Year, so if you do, do share if you have a traditional streak in you despite the wonders of modern technology and knowledge.
If you are of a different culture, please feel free to share if you keep to traditions of your culture or festive celebrations too. I know every culture and celebration has their traditions and I’m always up to learning something new 😀
Your Say: How traditional are you?
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not Chinese, but I come from a Russian family and New Year’s is the biggest celebration in our culture as well since the USSR banned religious celebrations. big family dinner waiting for the clock to strike midnight and then fireworks champagne and gift exchanging. No body gives a damn about christmas. also have to start the year the way you want to live it. so with your loved ones, dressed as nice as you can, eating the best food, not fighting with anyone.
I am not Chinese, but my husband is Malaysian Chinese.. We go to the temple every year (with his parents), just for a good luck. Hope it brings prosperity to the businesses we operate and health to everyone we pray for. I have been praying for a big lottery winning for the last few years, which never worked though 😀
Hmmm… i don’t think i’m very traditional so i don’t really stick to most CNY traditions, but i do keep some of the traditions mentioned above because they please the elders, and yeah, because its fun too!
I spring clean my place, but thats because i like how it symbolizes a fresh start for a new year. My parents always taught me not to go to ppl’s house with empty hands, so yeah i’ll bring either mandarin oranges or bak kwa when i visit my relatives. I’ll also wear something bright on CNY day! But most importantly, i go home to mummy’s uber uber uber yummy steamboat!!! I’m drooling now just thinking about it! Hehehehehe!! 😀
My dad’s side of the family is really traditional, so yeah, we have to call them by specific names too. Somemore before reunion dinner, have to call one by one before we can start eating! lol!!
Happy Chinese New Year to you and family, Paris! I love mandarin oranges and will be very happy come CNY coz there are a lot of them on sale 😉
I consider myself half and half. Half traditional and yet still modern. I still believe in Asian traditions that you need to always respect elders and visit them often. I love family gathering and weddings and I try to keep contact with all my relatives.
For Eid, we will usually make sure we cook the usual traditional dishes like rendang and ketupat as well as all the variety of cookies and kuih. Visiting relatives and morning prayer is the usual practice as well. 🙂
My family is utterly traditional. Especially in the “respect for elders” part. And the thing is, they’re 30 of us at any one time. So imagine waking up late one CNY morning. When you get down the stairs, you have to be quiet and observe which relative is where and then address them accordingly. ^.^ Of course, we cousins ignore one another. But we still call them “koko” (big bro) or “jiejie (big sis) even if al of us are in our 20s! ^.^
And yeah, we visit each other’s houses, bring mandarin oranges and stuff, even if all of us stay around Subang Jaya!! ^.^
Oh, and the first day of CNY we’re vegetarian until dinnertime. 🙁
I’m one of those modern-age Chinese I guess…don’t really practice most of the traditions but I do stick to the essentials.
Hmm, like you, I’ve been brought up to practice what you’ve listed above – except the full rice bin bit, which I’d not heard of before. 😛
We (Meaning my family and I)…
… spring clean. My Mum also puts up decorations- mainly it’s lanterns, pussy willows and the nice phrases over the door (And also a pair on each side of the door).
… clean the altar and change the altar’s decorations (The cloth, etc).
… have the traditional Reunion Dinner on Chinese New Year Eve, and we observe a vegetarian meal on the first day of Chinese New Year.
… bring at least mandarin oranges and an angpow with at least RM2 in a nice paper bag whenever we go visiting.
… wear new clothes (Preferably red) on the first day of Chinese New Year.
… don’t sweep the floor on the first day of Chinese New Year.
… go to the temple on the first day of Chinese New Year.
And yeah, we call our elderly relatives by their proper honorifics as well haha 😛
I’m Chinese and my family and I do 6/7 of all those things on your list!
My Mum also insists that I do NOT wash my hair on new years day as that also washes your luck away. Totally ruins my weekly routine but ah well. 😛