Honoring gods and ancestors
The tradition of honoring gods and ancestors typically starts at 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve, followed by a celebratory feast. Honoring gods and ancestors are a way for people to honor their heritage and is based on the belief that deceased family members look over their family and have an influence on their future prosperity. Here, Los Angeles celebrants welcome the new year with offerings of blessings to the deities during a midnight ceremony at the Chua Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown.
The reunion feast is regarded as one of the most important traditions during the Lunar New Year. Also called Tuan Nian or Wei Lu, the reunion feast is named as such because all children are to return to their families for a meal of symbolic food to usher in a prosperous new year. Photographed is a feast made up of traditional dishes during a Lunar New Year gathering in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
The night of New Year's Eve, in Chinese tradition, children are allowed to stay up late, and all of the lights in the homes are to be on through the night. At midnight, a big show of fireworks bids the past year farewell and ushers in the new year. Pictured above, people watch firework displays to mark the Chinese New Year beside the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China.
The dragon dance dates back to the Han dynasty, initially for the purpose of worshipping ancestors. However, by the Tang dynasty, the dragon dance became a celebratory dance for the new year, symbolizing wisdom, power, wealth, and, most importantly, luck. In the photo, Chinese dragon dancers perform at a fair at a local park on the fifth day of the Chinese Lunar New Year in Beijing, China.
The tradition of lighting firecrackers during Chinese New Year is intended to scare off an evil monster named Nian, who would come out to eat villagers and destroy their houses on New Year's Eve. Here, a firework goes off on the eve of the Chinese New Year in Jinzhai County, Anhui province of China.
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New Year's Day customs
Early on the morning of New Year's Day, children awaken to open their red envelopes, and the family goes door to door, greeting their relatives and neighbors. After this, many families head to the temple to pray. Seen above, a man prays at the Tin Hau Temple in the Yau Ma Tei area of Hong Kong on the fourth day of the Lunar New Year holiday.
On New Year's Day morning, families visit the temple to pray to the god of wealth, Tsai Shen, offering incense and inviting the god into their homes. Firecrackers are lit again to welcome Tsai Shen in the new year. Pictured above, people pray and burn incense for good luck at the Lama Temple in Beijing.
It is customary for worshippers to hang red ribbons on their temple doors to bring luck and prosperity. Here, Chinese prayer ribbons hang from a door at the Baoshan Temple in the Chinese border, Dandong.
During celebrations at temples, it's customary to throw coins into a well to wish for a year of good fortune and to please the god of wealth. Even tourists can participate in the tradition, with many coin vendors selling coins nearby. Above a tourist buys coins at White Cloud Temple in Beijing, China.
This traditional dance is performed on big occasions, including New Year's. This dance is intended to bring luck while also chasing away evil spirits. The lion itself symbolizes power, wisdom, and superiority. Here, performers take part in a lion dance during the Chinese New Year parade in London, England.
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