In China, New Year's Day is a solemn occasion. Every family performs religious rites at the family altar.
In order to rejoice at the New Year, people wished others a happy new year and blessed heartily. Some stick calligraphies full of joy on doors, most of them were antithetical couplet, phrase, individual character, such as: blessing, longevity, luckiness, propitious New Year and so on. Whereas, some people pasted paper-cuts for window decorations to do away with the old and set up the new, the patterns of paper-cuts mainly consisted of figure, flower, character, any of the twelve animals representing the twelve Earthly Branches, and other animals. On New Year's Eve, all the members of families come together to feast. Jiaozi is popular in the north, while southerners favor a sticky sweet glutinous rice pudding called Nian Gao.
Before the eve of the New Year, everyone tries to come back home from every corner of the country to join the entire family, just like Americans' practice for Christmas, to greet the New Year. A New Year big dinner is served. After the meal, the table is cleared, dishes washed and put away. Then it is time to undertake final preparations to meet the New Year.
In the morning, people put on their new clothes and shoes. Men, with their wives, call on relatives and friends to wish them a "Happy and Prosperous New Year ". The caller is served tea with sweet-meats; melon seeds, both red and black; and fruits and delicacies such as puffed rice cakes, dump-lings and deep-fried round doughnuts. In addition, liquor and tobacco are offered. Before leaving, the well-wisher present gifts of money wrapped in red paper to all the unmarried children of the family.
Starting from the New Year's Day, people began going out to visit friends and relatives, taking with them gifts such as fruits, wines, flowers, etc. This period was a time for visiting and amusement. Common expressions heard at this time are: Happy New...
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