Wǒ Men Podcast: The Chinese New Year Traditions You Need to Know


China has transformed greatly over the last few decades, and Chinese New Year has also come to mean very different things from generation to generation.

When our parents were children in the 1960s, their pleasure at this time of year was being able to finally enjoy vegetable balls fried with the oil that the whole family had been saving for the entire year. By contrast, when we were kids in the 1980s, meat dishes, sweets, new clothes and endless playtime with our cousins made the Chinese New Year the happiest time of the whole year.

Today, we can purchase imported food and new clothes on e-commerce platforms every day. Material pleasure doesn’t thrill us anymore. Instead, the New Year has become an obligatory time to face relatives’ constant questions about why we don’t have boyfriends/girlfriends, or if we do, why we don’t have babies yet.

Times have changed.

On this episode of the podcast, we recall our memories and discuss all of the interesting and weird (and superstitious) customs and traditions that surround Chinese New Year in our own families, particularly in the old days.

Do you know when is the proper time to eat dumplings on New Year’s Eve? Do you know why you are supposed to wear red during the New Year? Do you know what tricks there are to make sure you’ll stay out of trouble in the coming year (at least, the ones that Yajun’s grandma believed in)? You can answer all of the above questions in this episode.

We hope our listeners will have a wonderful and prosperous Year of the Dog!

Previous episodes of the Wǒ Men podcast can be found here, and you can find Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

Have thoughts or feedback to share? Want to join the discussion? Write to Yajun and Jingjing at [email protected].

Soundcloud embed (if you’re in China, turn your VPN on):

Wǒ Men Podcast
Wǒ Men Podcast is produced and hosted by Yajun Zhang and Jingjing Zhang, who discuss a variety of topics and share a diversity of voices from on the ground inside contemporary China.
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