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21 February 2021

Asia - Lunar New Year - episode 2.

Chúc mừng năm mới 🇻🇳

恭喜发财! 🇨🇳

Gong Xi Fa Cai! 🇲🇾🇸🇬


After a week of preparation, the celebration begins! Let`s continue the cultural exploration of the Lunar New Year tradition in Asia.


Day 1. Mung 1

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, we visit family and temples.

Do you remember from the previous article where I said that at midnight, on New Years Eve, we close the door to the house? Today, on the first day, there is a moment when you can open them in the morning. Related to this is the tradition of "first step" or "first foot".

It's good to know that it is very important in Asian culture who enters our home first, on the first day of the New Year. Because the social position, wealth and personal qualities of this person will determine how it will turn out for the entire next year, the head of the family most often arranges who is the first guest. As a rule, the invited person meets all the requirements so that the family will be happy all year round. I have an overwhelming impression that this tradition could be applied in Poland. Not only on the occasion of the New Year ...

Families continue to eat the specially prepared Ban Tet and Ban Chung to welcome the New Year, and the younger generation line up to their grandparents and parents to express their New Year's wishes. Putting them together, they assume a humble pose and deliver a sincere, short speech prepared especially for this day.

In return, parents, grandparents and the elderly give the children red envelopes, or "lucky money", in which they give small amounts of money. Regardless of the amount, kids have fun with it.

If we visit a house where there are no children, we are obliged to prepare a gift, which is usually a set of sweets, candied fruit and cookies, packed in a beautifully decorated plastic bag. Hopefully soon the foil will be replaced with paper bags.

After lunch, the families go to the temple where they give thanks for the past year.

In addition, a special altar is arranged at home with fruit in order to attract the spirit of the kitchen, which I have already written about in this article. After all, we sent him to heaven a week ago to give an account of our deeds. Now he must be encouraged to return. So we build fruit altars to make it pleasant for him to return to our home.

Good advice on the first day of the Lunar New Year? Please do not argue, do not cry, do not break the dishes and be careful with ceramics. All these situations will stay with you for the whole year ... So be careful!



Day 2, Mung 2

After the first day, full of family conversations, time spent together, a visit to the temple, in thanks for the past year, comes the second day. On this day, in Viet Nam, visits to friends and extended family begin.

After such a visit and a meal together, the Vietnamese very often go to the temple to pray for happiness for the next year. While yesterday they thanked for the past year, today they are asking for generosity for the whole year ahead.

The second day in China is traditionally the day when married daughters have the right to visit their parents. They usually don't have this opportunity during the year as they usually live with their husband and his family.

It is also one of the elements that magnifies the largest migration of people in the world. It is around Lunar New Year in China that a gigantic population migration takes place. Millions of Chinese travel to their hometowns to visit their parents, grandparents and friends.

Many of them do not return to big cities after such visits, where they used to stay and work.

About 20 percent of the population that migrates to their homeland simply choose to stay near their own city or province. Sometimes they find a better job, sometimes they just want to stay closer to home.



Day 3, Mung 3

The third day of the New Year is the day in Viet Nam when we visit teachers, superiors and friends who have a high social rank. It is a way to show our respect for these people. It is also the time when we visit friends, young people start house or "karaoke" parties. We continue the tradition of giving red envelopes to children. Similarly in companies, the superiors thanking the employees for the year of work, also give them happy money - "tong bao".

In China, the custom is slightly different on this day. Inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom do not visit anyone. They stay home because they believe that it is bad luck to leave the house on the third day. Opening the door may allow him to enter the house ...

Only a visit to the temple of the "God of Health" is allowed to ask for good health for the next year.

In both countries, traditionally before midnight, the burning of greeting cards, the burning of counterfeit money and drawings of worldly goods. All this is to allow our ancestors to gently return to heaven after three days at home. Burning takes place in special fireplaces, very often placed in housing estates. All this so that the residents can use them freely and before midnight light incense and incinerate special red cards with wishes. In China it is often done just in front of the house in a bucket.

The third day of the New Year's celebration ends with the celebration in Viet Nam.



Day 4 and onwards ...

On the fourth day, business returns to normal working hours, employees return to offices and the world returns to the beaten track. For the opening of a factory, office, store or restaurant, the owners or management prepare a greeting in the form of a table with food and drinks.

In China, however, the fourth day is celebrated like the second day.

In China it is an old tradition to celebrate the New Year two weeks until the 15th day of the New Year, which is the Lantern Festival.

On the fifth day we have the birthday of the God of Health in China. He fires the percussion caps to get his attention. The main dish is dumplings, which are generally a common dish during the New Year celebrations.

The "God of Health" whose birthday we are celebrating on this day is a great warrior in the "Three Kingdoms" period, which falls, more or less, in the middle of the first century.

This god symbolizes loyalty and lawfulness. The Chinese are drawing his attention to ensure their fortune and happiness in the coming year.

Day six is ​​Horse Day. This is the day when the inhabitants of the middle country "remove" the God of Poverty.

They usually throw away the rubbish accumulated during the five days of New Year's celebration. You can also vacuum and clean the apartment. It is a custom that symbolizes the endeavor to end the affairs of the old year, get rid of old thoughts, and start a new cycle.

The seventh day - ran re - "birthday for everyone" is an interesting day. It is this day that is considered the official age change of every inhabitant of Asia. On the seventh day, the first month of the lunar new year, everyone becomes one year older.

The dish characteristic of the seventh day is raw fish salad. It symbolizes the making of a covenant with the god of fortune to ensure success in the coming year.

The eighth day is a dinner in China in honor of Jade Emperor - the god of heaven, whose birthday falls on the ninth day.

It is the God whom the Kitchen Spirit followed to give an account of our deeds in the past year.

Dinner in honor of the Jader Emperor is also an opportunity for employers to invite their employees for a snack in order to thank them for the whole year of work.

The ninth day is the birthday of the Jade Emperor. His birthday is celebrated, but also thanks for the fortune of the previous year.

A special highlight of this day in some provinces is the offering of sugar cane gifts. A related legend has it that the inhabitants of the southern provinces, in particular Fujian, survived the massacre by Japanese pirates, hiding in sugar cane plantations.

The tenth day ends the celebrations of the fourteen-day New Year period in China, continuing the celebration of the birthday of the God of Heaven - Jade Emperor.



At this point, the Lunar New Year celebrations are over and the Chinese diaspora is getting ready for the fifteenth day, which is the Lantern Festival.

As you can see, the Lunar New Year celebrations in Asia have a very rich tradition but also a diverse approach to the celebration.

In the part of Asia dominated by the Chinese diaspora, i.e. in China, Malaysia and Singapore, it is celebrated in a 5-day calendar, culminating on the third day of the New Year. The older generation of Asians celebrates longer, until the 10th day.

In Viet Nam, the celebration of the New Year ended on the third day, and in the Philippines, only one day is celebrated - New Year's Day.

In anticipation of the Lantern Festival, I wish you all good luck in the New Year. Be polite, be kind to each other, love each other. Remember, your Kitchen Ghost has eyes wide open. May he be able to report only good things for the year :).

I have the impression that we need 2021, the Year of the Ox, to clear the world of all the problems associated with the 2020 pandemic.


All the best in the New Year, the Year of the Ox, which symbolizes strength, honesty, intelligence and the ability to work hard.

Chúc mừng năm mới🇻🇳

恭喜发财! Happy Lunar New Year🇨🇳

Gong Xi Fa Cai! 🇲🇾🇸🇬

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