All You Need to Know about Spring Festival

By Gina Batmunkh 2021-02-07 17:52:07

“Chinese New Year”,  or also known as Spring Festival begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice, which marks the beginning of spring. It is without a doubt the most important holiday in China, as it is time to be with family and reflect on the year that has passed. Cities, towns and villages are decorated with beautiful red lanterns, and red paper cuttings will be placed on the walls and windows in homes and everywhere else. You can see an upside fu (Fu Dao) on many doors of households, which symbolises good luck and blessing have arrived. Fu means luck and hanging it upside-down (dao) has the same pronunciation as ‘to arrive’.   What else do you need to know about Chinese New Year and how to celebrate this momentous holiday?

Food and Delicacies

Fish - called ‘Yu’ which has a similar pronunciation as ‘surplus”. So that means eating fish in Spring Festival symbolises abundance and prosperity for the upcoming year.

Dumpling is a traditional food in China and it symbolises wealth as the shape of the dumpling resembles gold which had been used in ancient times in China. Dumpling is not only a staple food but also it can be used for various festivals.

Longevity Noodles - symbolises long and healthy life. The importance of food in Chinese Culture, it plays a major role in Spring Festival celebrations. Foods are considered to offer luck and good fortune are part of it. 

Tangerines symbolise auspiciousness, as the word for ‘orange’ sounds similar to success in Chinese, and the word ‘tangerine’ sounds like the word for luck. That is why you can see oranges and tangerines everywhere when it comes to the Spring Festival holiday.

Check out more lucky food for the New Year here.


Year of an OX

It is time to say our goodbyes to the Year of the Rat, and get ready to welcome the Year of the Ox. The Ox symbolises diligence, persistence and honesty. Being said that, the Ox is a very crucial animal because it helps us to thrive. For the upcoming year, we are looking for stability, honesty and hard work.


Things To Do


Shopping for new clothes, gifts, food and snacks can be done before New Year’s Eve. 

Spring Cleaning

The belief that cleaning the house before the new year will sweep away all the bad luck that has been accumulated for the past year. It also makes the house get ready to receive good fortune. In addition, keeping the house clean and fresh is part of the celebration. As people say, for the following 15 days, do not clean the house as you will sweep away all the good luck you have just received. 

Click here to learn some tips from certified KonMari consultant and Shanghai Family contributer Eve Wee-Ang.


As we all know, red is the colour and symbol of good luck in Chinese culture. Along the streets, you may notice beautiful paper cut-outs onto the windows, spring couplets, bright red paper lanterns which are an essential element of the holiday celebrations.

Watching Spring Festival Gala

This annual live program features on New Year’s Eve since 1983. The program covers a variety of performances such as singing and dancing from every province of China (shows each of their unique cultures from every part of China) which can be stunning performances you could ever watch. Famous singers, actors, and announcers from all over China gather together, as a nation, to celebrate the Spring Festival. 

Visiting relatives and friends

Traditionally, people spend their New Year Eve and the first two days at home with family. Starting from the third day, people visit the homes of their friends and relatives.  

Dragon/lion dance

Most of you have seen the dragon dance performance during the Spring Festival, as it only can be done on special occasions like Spring Festival. Dragons are common in Chinese mythology in which they are a symbol of the nation and people. The lion is a powerful and majestic creature, but the dance often includes comic elements. Both dances take lots of time, sweat, and practice to perfect the performance as well as both accompanied by traditional Chinese drums. 


The myriad of firecrackers is set off every day during the holiday season. Chinese believe that it can scare off spirits (NIAN) and start a prosperous new year.

Red Envelope

‘Red Envelope’ or hong bao contains crisp, new bills intended as a gift during Spring Festival. Red envelopes are given by elders to younger generations. Also, married couples give red envelopes to their senior family members. When you receive a red envelope, it is proper manners to receive the hong bao with both hands and never open it in front of others. Do not forget to express your sincere appreciation to a giver.

No matter where you are from or what you choose to believe, may the joy, and happiness surround you every step of your way. Have a safe and prosperous New Year!