What Are Some Chinese New Year Traditions?

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While there are many Chinese New Year traditions, the most common and well known are the fireworks displays that are kicked off the evening before New Year's Day. These firework displays are said to be an homage to the noise, bright red colors and lights used to drive away the mythical beast Nien.

Many Chinese New Year traditions are tied to specific days of this 15-day celebration. On the first day, no cleaning is allowed including showering or doing the laundry. The second day is spent with family and in-laws, but visits are discouraged on the third day because it's believed to be a day where arguments are more common. Businesses set off firecrackers on the fifth day to welcome the gods of prosperity, and the Festival of Lanterns, called Yuan Xiao Jie, is held on the 15th day. Lanterns adorn the streets for this event, with many in the form of a rabbit or whatever animal is being honored that year.

Buying shoes is discouraged during the entire first month of the lunar year, as the sound haai, the Chinese word for shoe, has a negative connotation in the Cantonese language. The celebrants are encouraged to turn the luck symbol upside down and hang it on the front door in an effort to bring luck to the residents.