Secret Chinese New Year Customs That Might Get you in Trouble!

 Sichuanese New Years with Maria Laoshi!

Sichuanese New Years with Maria Laoshi!

Everyone knows about all the standard Chinese New Years traditions. Dumplings, red pockets, and the CCTV Spring Festival Gala show… everyone knows about these traditions. However, since China is so big, there are so many regional traditions that get overlooked. Here are some special, non-standard Chinese New Year traditions from my home village of Pengshan located in Sichuan province.

Drinking the Midnight Silver Water

 A Chinese Bamboo Forest

A Chinese Bamboo Forest

My family is usually reminded of this custom when my grandma stays awake until midnight. Usually goes to bed at 8 o’clock!
In the past, when there was no central water supply, families would share wells. “Silver water” is the water the first person gets exactly at midnight. It is believed that whoever drinks silver water will gain health for the new year. 
I still remember people rushing to the well in the bamboo forest with their buckets and flashlights when I was young. Now, my grandma is the only remaining fan of this custom. Even though there’s no competition anymore, my grandma keeps going to the well on time at midnight. Chinese people aren’t known for having faith, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own superstitions!

Stealing from Vegetable Farms

 Caught red handed!

Caught red handed!

This tradition might seem slightly illegal, and might have been practiced only in my village, but it’s definitely my favorite. On the 15th day of Chinese New Year, when other people are busy putting up red lanterns and cooking Yuanxiao for the Red Lantern Festival, me and my friends were getting excited to steal some vegetables at night.
The stolen vegetables were cooked for both people and their animals to make them healthier and improve growth. People whose vegetables were stolen would feel honored for providing the magic vegetables. When people are busy harvesting on others’ lands under bright moonlight, it is one of the most beeautiful sights to see.

I believe there are more special traditions to discover and explore. Go for an adventure and join a GoEast teacher when they go home for Chinese New Years.g You never know what you might see!


Maria writes columns for the GoEast Blog on studying Chinese and Chinese language. She completed her MA atBeijing Foreign Studies University and has over 6 years experience teaching Mandarin. She founded GoEast together with Wang Rong in 2010.