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Jiangsu´s special New Year traditions


09:03, November 21, 2011

Besides traditional festive activities like pasting spring couplets and New Year paintings, staying up late into the night on New Year's Eve, performing dragon dances and bainian, or paying New Year calls, people in Jiangsu Province have many other special customs to celebrate the festival.

The locals in Suzhou City like to eat cooked chufa buried in rice when having dinner, which literally means digging out yuanbao (shoe-shaped gold or silver ingots). The tea added with two green olives is called Yuanbao Tea. The two kinds of food both symbolize wealth and fortune in the coming year.

The Wujin locals will hang the pictures of their ancestors in the hall of the house on the morning of the first day of the first lunar month, with fruit offerings and New Year cakes. The family members will worship the ancestors on bended knees in turn. No sweeping the floor on the first day of the New Year is allowed. And no rubbish would be swept out of the house during the following days. In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door.

Other traditions include the Drum Dance in Jiangning, which brings the festival there to a climax, and the custom of hanging gingili stalk, holly and cypress branch at the doorway, which symbolizes higher year by year and ever-green, etc.

There are also certain precautions to take in Jiangsu area during the Spring Festival season, for instance, the use of knives and scissors -- indeed any sharp instrument -- is to be avoided, for these things could augur bad luck in the coming year.


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