Somehow all of the "Western" countries influenced by European culture seem to celebrate in a more or less similar way. But how is it when we go farther, to the far, far East? Maybe China?
has a different calendar, in our tradition following the moon calendar, New Year’s Eve is
celebrated in February!
Many Chinese traditions originate from
ancient history: in the old days, a horrible monster whose name was
"Year“ used to terrify all Chinese villages, killing many people and devastate the country. Its
madness ended thanks to a man, dressed in red, who spent
his days burning bamboo and making a lot of noise. The monster "Year" got burnt and passed away.
That’s the reason why RED is the color that brings good
luck on NYE! Instead of white and black, which you should avoid on this festivity since they symbolize death and mourning...
Also the Chinese calendar designs each year a specific animal, a bit like Zodiac symbols, the upcoming year will be under the sign of the snake.
In order to keep the monster from returning we developed some interesting traditions for New Year's Eve:
the door and gather all family together (but just for one day, afterwards we're paying visits to relatives and friends), paste red couplets on the
doors, burn fireworks and bonfires to scare "Year", wearing new
clothes (especially red ones) to demonstrate the happy atmosphere, but also to scare bad things away, and finally the dinner in the evening with the whole family coming together and preparing the best dishes as a foreshadowing or symbolic act that everyone will have but good food during the year to come. A typical food is called "Jiao
zi", which would be translated as "dumpling" in English (usually salty, with lots of different variations), there is a little coin put inside one of the jiao zi and the lucky person who gets this one is considered to expect a new year full of luck and prosperity.
Then we watch a live TV show that almost every Chinese family watches, which is called "CCTV Spring Festival Gala".
Also very typical is that adult people give pocket money to the younger ones who give compliments and kind words in exchange. Usually the more creative the verse, the more generous the donors...