Everyone, young and old, rich and poor, looks forward to celebrating the noisiest, most joyous and longest festival of the year. Chinese New Year is not celebrated at a hotel or supper club with revelers donning silly paper hats, drinking liquor and champagne, eating sumptuously, blowing whistles, twirling noisy rattles and throwing confetti while singing “Auld Lang syne” and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. In China, New Year's Day is a solemn occasion. Every family performs religious rites at the family altar. This is the time for a family reunion. All family quarrels have been amiably settled and forgotten.
Before the eve of the New Year, everyone tries to come back home from every corner of the country to join the entire family, just like Americans’ practice for Christmas, to greet the New Year. A New Year big dinner is served. After the meal, the table is cleared，dishes washed and put away. Then it is time to undertake final preparations to meet the New Year.
A new tablecloth was put on the dining table. New dishes and new chopsticks were brought in home. The beds were made up with new sheets, new pillow cases and blanket covers. The sweetmeat and melon seed dishes were filled. Fragrant Chinese narcissus plants (水仙花) with only fresh blossoms and buds were purchased from vendors. The living room and altar were decorated with pomelos, oranges , tangerines , New Year puddings and blooming narcissus plants.
At midnight following a nice family banquet on the New Year’s Eve, the young members of the family would bow and pay their respects to the parents and elders.
In the morning of New Year’s Day, people put on their new clothes and shoes. Men, with their wives , call on relatives and friends to wish them a “Happy and Prosperous New Year”（恭喜发财）. The caller is served tea with sweetmeats; melon seeds, both red and black; and fruits and delicacies such as puffed rice cakes, dumplings and deep-fried round doughnuts. In addition, liquor and tobacco are offered. Before leaving, the well-wisher present gifts of money wrapped in red paper(压岁钱) to all the unmarried children of the family.
Starting from the New Year's Day, people began going out to visit friends and relatives, taking with them gifts such as fruits, wines, flowers, etc. The whole night was the time for socialising and amusement. Common expressions heard at this time are: Guonian Hao (Happy New Year), and Bainian(to congratulate the New Year).
On New Year's Day, the lights on the porch and in the parlor are not turned off but left on continuously. To retain good fortune and wealth in the home, the house is not swept for fear of weeping out the good fortune. No knife is used, even to prepare meals. Quarrels are to be avoided. Words with bad connotations such as defeat, illness, surgical operations, a coffin or death are not to be used. Dishes are handled carefully, for breaking a dish on New Year's Day indicate bad luck for the coming year.
The burning of long strings of firecrackers accompanies the Eve of the New Year. Most adults and children do not touch their bed the whole night, busy at all kinds of activities welcoming the New Year.
The New Year celebration lasts for fifteen days, allowing time for various entertainments to be enjoyed, including games of mahjong (麻将) and dominos (多米诺) at home or at clubs. There are also animal shows featuring trained dogs and monkeys, theatrical plays staged by amateur and professional troupes, acrobatic performances, magic shows, puppet shows, storytelling and lion and dragon dances, especially in the country.