红包 (hóng bāo), red envelopes, are envelopes containing money – often given away during the Chinese New Year.
Older people give them to younger people for luck, while the reverse brings longevity. On the first work day after the holidays, some companies will also give red envelopes to their employees.
The ancient custom was recently digitalized by the messaging app WeChat: The app allows users to send and receive money via a red envelope graphic (it’s also a payment app!) In group chats, the amount given is randomly distributed between the group’s members. This means everybody gets excited when a group member sends a red envelope – you only find out how much you get after you click it!
China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign also touches the old traditions: It’s no longer considered appropriate for government officials to receive red envelopes, and public organizations don’t give any out either – that would be using public funds!
Also a big thing at weddings. Baidu Baike
回娘家(huí niáng jiā), literally “returning to the wife’s home”, is the second day of the Spring Festival, when married couples go visit the wife’s family.
In ancient China, a woman would usually go and live with the husband’s family after getting married. It was her responsibility to look after them, managing household affairs and taking care of children. Therefore, of course, it wouldn’t do for her to run back home to her parents every other day - doing so was considered bad luck for her entire family.
This day was a rare exception.
Nowadays most couples live independently (and women can go home when they want to), but it’s still customary to visit the in-laws on this day. And of course, turning up empty-handed is a no-no, so parents all over the country are looking forward to what they call “Son-in-Law Day”
"Left hand with a chicken, right hand with a duck, a fat baby on the back".
(Lyrics of a famous song).
Qi Lu Evening News
春晚 (Chūnwăn), is China Central TV’s annual New Year’s Gala, which last year drew 9(!) times as many viewers as the Super Bowl.
This extravaganza, broadcast at 8pm on the eve of every lunar New Year since 1983, mixes singing performances, dancing, sketch comedy, acrobatics, and Chinese opera. Rehearsals for the show begin several months in advance.
The hottest personalities of the year attend - for example, the crew of the high-profile Shénzhōu 11 space mission were featured last year, along with the Chinese gold winners from the Rio Olympics.
Because everybody watches it, catchphrases from the featured sketches often become popular expressions off-screen: For example, 你太有才了! (nĭ tài yŏu cái le),”you are so talented”, (used ironically!), has become nationwide vocabulary.
Multiple simultaneous live shows, broadcasting from around the country! CCTV
除夕(chú xī), the Lunar New Year’s Eve, is today. The first character, 除, means “elimination” and the second, 夕, means “evening” – so what gets eliminated this evening?
An ancient child-eating monster!
But wait, the monster is afraid of red things and loud noises! Aha!
Bring the red decorations and the fireworks! Ha, there he goes!
People have 7 days off. At home, older people give red packets with money to the children, and everybody makes dumplings – often putting a coin inside one of them, which brings a whole year of good luck to whoever gets it.
Many people put a poster on their door with the lucky character, 福, then tilt it upside down: “Upside down” sounds like “come” – exactly what the New Year does!
And that’s how the Chinese New Year season kicks off! Stay tuned: We smell a theme week coming up!
No monsters here. Baidu Baike
牛郎 (Niúláng) was a poor cowherd who fell in love with 织女 (Zhīnǚ), a beautiful silk
weaver, in the myth The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd.
Since Zhīnǚ descended from the gods, the Queen of Heaven would not allow them to be together. She sent her bodyguard to drag Zhīnǚ away from Niúláng and their young children, and between them she created a mighty river, which is how the Milky Way came to be.
However, because their love was so strong, the Queen took pity on them, and so once per year, she allowed all the magpies of the world to form a bridge over the river so the lovers could visit each other.
Their reunion is celebrated as the Chinese Valentine’s Day on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, known as 七夕 (Qīxī), “the Seventh Dusk”. In 2018, this will be on August 17th.
Ok. That's romantic. Baidu Baike