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Spring Festival in Taiwan (I)

(CNTV)

08:57, November 21, 2011

Like Chinese people in any other place, Taiwanese also spend New Year's Eve bidding farewell to the old year with a reunion dinner by all the family members to thank their ancestors and the gods for the blessings and protection bestowed upon them. Children who have left their homes return on this day for the reunion dinner, and for those unable to make the journey, a spot at the table is reserved for them to symbolize their presence in spirit if not in body. At the end of the dinner, the parents and grandparents give New Year money to the family's children, who have been waiting with growing anticipation for this moment to arrive.


Like Chinese people in any other place, Taiwanese also spend New Year's Eve bidding farewell to the old year with a reunion dinner by all the family members to thank their ancestors and the gods for the blessings and protection bestowed upon them.

Prior to the arrival of the New Year Day, the family usually uses Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches (a combination used to desiganate years, months, days and hours) to determine the best time to see the old year off and bring in the New Year, which is known as "Kai Zheng" (Beginning the First Month of a New Year) in Taiwan. Usually, the time comes early in the morning, in which case all the family members stay up all night until the arrival of that time. When the time arrives, all the family members worship the gods and ancestors with firecrackers and sacrifices, mainly sweet food, thus signifying the beginning of a new year.

On New Year Day, while theists visit a temple nearby to worship their respective gods (which is called "Xing Xiang" or "serve the incense"), others usually visit friends and relatives. The streets are usually filled with the lively displays of dragon dancing, lion dancing, and other folk activities.

When guests arrive, the host entertains them with sweet food and sweet tea; upon receiving the sweet food, the guest usually say some words of good blessings, such as "Eating sweets, and making a good fortune ".

To insure good luck and wealth in the new year, several taboos must be heeded. Floors must not be swept and garbage must not be disposed for fear of casting riches out of the door. Also, cussing and quarreling is to be avoided at all costs, and anyone who breaks a dish on this day must quickly say "Peace"("Heping" in Chinese) several times, to avoid incurring misfortune. Avoiding the use of white sugar is also important, as white is a funeral color. Therefore, when making "Niangao"(New Year Cake, made of glutinous rice flour), red sugar is usually used.

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