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Chinese New Year
Traditions and Superstitions

The Chinese New Year is the most important and elaborate holiday in Chinese culture, lasting two weeks -- from the first day of the full moon through the end of the full moon. Whether it's family gatherings or citywide celebrations, the New Year is a time rich in traditions and ancient superstitions.

Paying off Debts

In preparation for the new year, a concerted effort is made to repay any outstanding debts. Additionally, it is considered bad luck to loan out any money during the New Year itself, as that would set a precedent for a year of usury.

A Family Celebration

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are traditionally considered family affairs -- so much so that if a family member cannot make it, an empty seat is set at the banquet table in his or her honor. At the conclusion of the banquet, the young children bow to their elders at precisely midnight.

In anticipation of the big day, families are busy preparing the lavish feast for the two days prior to the New Year. Then, on the day itself, all sharp instruments -- including cooking knives -- are put away to avoid "cutting the luck" of the New Year.

Best Behavior

One's behavior, manner and even dress on New Year's Day are considered auspicious. Everyone, therefore, takes care to wear new clothing and be on their "best behavior" -- no fowl language, no lying and no shouting. It's even considered especially bad luck to break something on New Year's Day.

More Chinese New Year Traditions and Superstitions

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