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Chinese New Year Decorations

Chinese New Year is a time when families get together to celebrate. It is also a special time to remember members of the family who have died. In the days coming up to New Year every family buys presents, decorations, food, new clothes and people have their hair cut. Houses are cleaned from top to bottom. The aim is to sweep out any bad luck from the old year and clear the way for good luck. However, it is bad luck to clean on New Years Day itself.

Families put lights up outside their homes, rather like Christmas lights. Doors and windows are often newly painted in red. On New Years Eve both narrow strips of red paper, called Chunlian or Spring Couplets, and bunches of firecracker decorations are hung on doors to bring good luck.

Lights on gates to celebrate Chinese New Year Front door with Chinese New Year decorations
Chinese New Year decorations on homes in Hong Kong

In the first three days of Chinese New Year celebrations, people living outside cities can light firecrackers which are similar to rows of fireworks, but which make a series of loud bangs. The idea is that the bangs scare away bad luck. People hang bunches of decorative firecrackers both inside and outside their homes for the same reason. Find out how you can make a simple firecracker wall hanging decoration.

Firecracker Decorations
Firecracker Decorations

The Chunlian decorations are marked with messages of good fortune such as happiness, prosperity and long life, known as Spring Couplets. These mostly have four gold Chinese characters, which are called Hui Chun. The man in the photograph below is writing a message for a customer at his stall.

A man at a stall is writing a message for a customer

The colour red is chosen for two reasons. The first is because red is a lucky colour and the second because it is supposed to frighten off the monster Nian who is thought to come on New Years Eve. The colour gold represents wealth. Families also decorate their homes with lanterns and put stickers on things in their homes.

Find out about Chinese Symbols