The custom of New year in Lunar calendar
The chinese new year is the most solemness, lively and traditional festival in China, these days all the people join in jubilation. In China, the New Year in Lunar calendar is called « Guonian » , What does mean « Guonian » ?
In the earliest times it meant the time people use for celebrating last year's harvest and blessing have a good collect this year.
This festival has a long history. In ancient times, chinese people called « Yuandang » the New year’s day. « Yuan » is beginning, « dang » is morning, and also the beginning of a year, they also called it « Sanyuan », their meaning include the begining year’s day, the day of begining month, and the beginning of the date.
The earliest Chinese New Year was decided at the beginning of the Han dynasty by the Emperor Hanwu, and apart from now is more than 1,900 years old. China continued to use the lunar calendar until 1911. When the Revolution Republic of China had been established, they changed to the Gergorian calendar, and followed its records. So they decided that the first day of the first lunar month would be the Chinese New Year, and the 1st January of the Gergorian calendar the « Yuandand ».
The gregorian calendar was promulgated and implemented in 1914.
Before the Chinese New Year people must complete three duties : delivers the kitchen god ,complete clean up the house, purchase the new year's goods
1 - 23rd December in the lunar calendar : the old custom called this day « deliver the kitchen god to heaven », he will report good and evil in the world to the Heaven Emperor (chinese people called him ‘Yuhuangdadi’). Usually the people clean the ancestral altar of the kitchen god, then bring up wine, sugar, fruits, cake, burning incense and offer a sacrifice to the kicthen god. They hope he will report good words in the heaven, and bless the world to be peaceful. According to Folklore, the kitchen god is an uneducated person, and people worry about what he will say. For this reason the sacrificial offers cakes made from glutinous rice, in order to stick kitchen god’s tooth, and prevent him to speak irresponsibily. The kitchen god stays in Heaven until the first morning of the chinese New year. According to legend the Kitchen god controls the family’s destiny, that is why Zhanjiang's villages still care about to deliver the kitchen god.
2 - 24th December in lunar calendar : complete house clean up. Chinese ancient book "Lvshi Chunqiu" has recorded: "24th December, it’s time to brush off the dust from the house", this is the preparation for celebrating the Lunar New Year. In Chinese, « dust » and « Chen » have the same pronunciation: « sweep the dust » means also « eliminate old and bring new ». When sweeping the dust, people use to take new broom, cleaning dust and cobwebs from the walls and the roof; here cleaning dust means remove all the diseases, unlucky and disasters out of the house, and greeting the Lunar New Year with clean and new face. Of course they clean the house during several days until 28th. People not only clean inside and outside of the the house, but also clean the furnitures, wash dishes and bowls, bedding, and go to hairdresser's to cut their hairs and prepare new clothes.
3 - From 25th December to the Eve of lunar New Year, people who live in the city will go shopping to buy some goods for lunar New Year, and people which live in the villages will prepare the foods which celebrate the new year. In Zhanjiang’s villages people use to prepare rice dumpling and others typically foods, like Miyi, Jiandui. In the city, people will prepare the new year cake and others dishes. The most delicious rice dumpling is the Donghai’s dumpling, and in Suixi and Leizhou typically dishes as Miyi already became famous. They prepare cakes and pastries, not only for themself, most of the part is prepared to visit friends and relatives, and every family do the same. So people carry 99 rice dumplings to visit their relative in Donghai Island, every family will return rice dumplings, and finally they come back home with 99 rice dumplings.
Source: Yinsha Nnet