Major traditional festivals of Taiwan 1/4: 春節 [Chūn jié]

This page deepens your understanding of “春節” [Chūn jié] (Chinese New Year) which is one of the four major traditional festivals in Taiwan and the biggest festival in Winter.


What is 春節 [Chūn jié] ?

春節 [Chūn jié] is Chinese New Year’s Day on the lunar calendar. The biggest festival in Winter.

In Taiwan, 春節 [Chūn jié] holiday starts from 除夕 [Chú xì] (New Year’s Eve in the lunar calendar) to 5th day of New year.

It is the longest consecutive holiday of the year for many people.

Origin of 春節 [Chūn jié]

The exact origin is still unknown. Since the oracle bone scripts remain from around the Shang dynasty, it could possibly about 3700 years ago.

It is derived from the ritual of praying for rainfall, good harvesting, and sickness-free at the end of each year.

As the history in Taiwan, the holidays including the Chinese New Year were enacted by law during the time of the North Sea government of the Republic of China in 1913 (Second year of the Republic of China).

Customs of 春節 [Chūn jié]

除夕 [Chú xì]

New Year’s Eve.
團圓 [Tuán yuán] : Family gathering day.

• Decorate outside the entrance with 春聯 [Chūn lián] and 倒福 [Dào fú].

• Thank for ancestors and God of lands.

• Mostly eat pot dishes with whole family members.

In general, this dinner is the largest family gathering of the year.

元旦 [Yuán dàn]

New year’s day.

• At the same time turn to the New Year, the entrance and windows are opened to invite the 財神 [Cái shén] (God of wealth).

• Sound tons of 鞭炮 [Biān pào] (firecrackers). There are some prefer to launch fireworks.

• Wear new clothes.

• Wear red things (mostly underwear).

• Give out 紅包 [Hóng bāo] (money putted in the red envelope).

正月初二 [Zhēng yuè chū èr]

回娘家 [Huí niángjiā] : The day when the bride visits her parents’ house.

正月初三 [Zhēng yuè chū sān]

赤狗日 [Chì gǒu rì] : The day which is not suitable to visit the 寺廟 [Sì miào] (Temple and Taoist temple)

正月初四 [Zhēng yuè chū sì]

接神日 [Jiē shén rì] : A good day for the first visit 寺廟 [Sì miào].

• Prepare offerings such as 三牲 [Sānshēng] (Whole chicken, fish, pork belly) , 四果 [Sì guǒ] (Four fruits) etc. and worship each God.

正月初五 [Zhēng yuè chū wǔ]

破五日 [Pòwǔ rì] : A good day to start work.

• The birthday of the 五路財神 [Wǔ lù cái shén], so it is suitable for starting a business. (開工 [Kāigōng] )

• Make a sound of firecrackers at the beginning of work.

正月十五 [Zhēng yuè shí wǔ]

元宵節 [Yuán xiāo jié] (Lantern Festival): First Full Moon Festival. The day when a series of New Year’s events end.

• Eat 湯圓 [Tāngyuán].

• Raise the 天燈 [Tiān dēng] (sky lantern ).

The way of spending New Year is vary greatly depending on the region and family. In addition, the number of households that have inherited traditional customs is decreasing with the passage of time.

Summary of 春節 [Chūn jié]

春節 [Chūn jié] is the New Year’s Day of the lunar calendar.

• Traditional customs are remained in rural areas, but in urban areas, to make sound of firecrackers is “basically” banned and the chance to see those traditional culture is disappearing with the times.

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