First days of the 1st Chinese lunar month

The 1st day of the 1st lunar month

People begin the day by setting off firecrackers, a practice known as kaimen paozhang (firecrackers for opening the door). People also exchange congratulations on the lunar New Year.

According to legend, this is also the “birthday” of the household broom, use of which is forbidden at this time to prevent financial loss or other misfortunes.

The 2nd day of the 1st lunar month

In ancient times, a married woman usually returned to her parents’ home on the 2nd day of the 1st lunar month, and this gradually became a custom. Indeed, on this day, a woman and her husband take gifts to her parents’ home, and hence the date is known as the “day for welcoming the son-in-law”.

The 3rd day of the 1st lunar month

Legend has it that rats get married on this day, and thus people go to bed early in the evening so as not to disturb their wedding. This legend is the theme of some Chinese paper-cuts, a traditional decorative art form, used to represent auspiciousness during festivals and celebrations.

On the evening of this day, mothers tell the legend to their children, and bid them go to bed early to listen to the wedding music.

The 4th day of the 1st lunar month

One Chinese myth tells of how the goddess Nüwa created six domestic animals (rooster, dog, pig, goat, ox and horse) from the 1st to the 6th day of the 1st lunar month.

The 4th day is known as the “day of the goat”. At this time, people welcome the return of the Kitchen God to the earthly world.

The 5th day of the 1st lunar month

This day is commonly known as powu, a day when many taboos can be broken. On the morning, houses are cleaned, domestic garbage thrown away, and firecrackers set off to drive away bad luck and poverty.

Moreover, every household in Beijing makes and eats jiaozi. The dough symbolises the mouths of the vulgar, and dough kneading the act of stopping them from uttering malicious words.

The 6th day of the 1st lunar month

Traditionally, shops reopen on the 6th day of the 1st lunar month, following a Holiday from the 1st to the 5th day. On the morning of this day, shop staff set off firecrackers to create a dynamic atmosphere ready for reopening.

This custom has changed in Beijing. However, locals still set off firecrackers on the morning to mark the reopening of business.

The 15th day of the 1st lunar month

This is the date of the Lantern Festival, and features the first full moon of the lunar New Year. It is also known as the Yuanxiao or Shangyuan Festival. Families get together to appreciate the moon and try to solve riddles written on the lanterns.

In Beijing, during the festival, visitors and locals take part in a great array of traditional activities.