Little New Year, called Xiaonian in Chinese, falls on February 8th this year. The date of Xiaonian varies, assigned according to location but usually falling on a week before Lunar New Year.
People in northern China celebrate it on the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month while people in southern China celebrate it both on the 24th and the night before Lunar New Year’s Eve.
Xiaonian is also known as the Festival of the Kitchen God, the deity who oversees the moral character of each household. People offer sacrifices to him on this day, cleaning houses, pasting paper-cuts to windows, writing Spring Festival couplets and taking baths and cutting their hair.
Sacrifices to the Kitchen God
People usually offers pig’s head, fish, sweet bean paste, melons, fruit, boiled dumplings, barley sugar and Guandong candy made out of glutinous millet and sprouted wheat to the Kitchen God, and the god oversees and protect the household.
Most of the offerings are candies so as to seal the Kitchen God’s mouth and encourage him to only report good things about the family to Heaven.
The New Year is approaching with only a week left after Xiaonian. To ensure the ghosts and deities’ timely departure and a fresh start in the following year, people have to undertake a thorough house cleaning, sweeping out the old in preparation for the New Year.
Paste paper-cuts and Spring Festival couplets
Paper-cutting and couplets-writing are the highlight in the preparation for the New Year. Old couplets and paper-cuts are taken down and new window decorations are pasted up in Xiaonian.
Take a bath and get a haircut
As the saying goes, “No matter if you’ve got money or not, just cut your hair and welcome the New Year.” You have to take bath and get a haircut in Xiaonian if you want to ensure your health in the New Year.
And that’s it. Make sure you are diligent in your preparations to get the coming year off on the right foot!
Editor: Fu Shiyue
Copywriter: John Shea