The Kitchen God Festival is referred to as “小年”[xiǎo nián] (literally meaning little new year) and considered the beginning of the busy New Year celebration.
People usually set about purchasing new year gifts, cleaning up the house, worshiping the Kitchen God, etc., and getting everything ready for the coming New Year.
The customs vary in different regions and there’s still debate on the exact date of 小年[xiǎo nián] .
People from the North regard the 23rd of the twelfth lunar month as 小年[xiǎo nián] while people from the South recognize the 24th of the twelfth lunar month as the official day.
Nevertheless, in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai, the day before the Chinese Lunar New Year’s Eve was taken as 小年[xiǎo nián] .
小年[xiǎo nián] is also the time for worshiping the Kitchen God, hence its English translation.
With thousands of years of history, the custom stems from the fire worship in ancient China.
The Kitchen God is said to be in charge of the stove and the people’s diet and reports to the Yuhuang Emperor in the heaven about human behavior.
Everyone hopes that the Kitchen God will say a good word in their favor so and therefore, the Kitchen God always gets the highest level of reception, indicating our wishes for good luck.
One of the important customs is “dust sweeping”, which used to be a ritual ceremony for keeping away evil spirits and praying for good luck.
In Chinese language, “dust” has the same pronunciation with “past” so the custom also embodies the significance of “saying goodbye to the past and welcoming the new”.
In addition to worshiping the Kitchen God and Sweeping dust, posting couplets and paper-cuts for window decoration is also necessary for the New Year preparation.
Yesterday, our experience card members participated in the activity of writing couplets and paper-cutting for window decoration, and everyone brought home great joy and expectations for the New Year.