Why do People Stay up all Night on Chinese New Year?

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is a time of joy, celebration, and cultural traditions. Among the many customs observed during this auspicious occasion, one stands out as particularly significant: staying up all night, known as "shou sui" (守岁) in Chinese. Now, we'll delve into the reasons why people stay up all night on Chinese New Year and explore the symbolism and significance behind this age-old tradition.

Welcoming the Arrival of the New Year (迎接新年的到来)

Staying up all night on Chinese New Year is believed to be a way of welcoming the arrival of the new year with open arms. As the clock strikes midnight, families gather together to bid farewell to the old year and usher in the new one. By staying awake through the night, people symbolically guard against any misfortune or evil spirits that may try to enter their homes as the old year comes to a close. It's a time for reflection, anticipation, and renewed hope 希望 (xī wàng) for the year ahead.

希望 (xī wàng), noun, hope


  1. Her eyes were full of hope as she waited for the exam results.
    Tā děngdài kǎoshì chéngjī de shíhòu, yǎnjīng lǐ chōngmǎn le xīwàng.
  2. We never lose hope, even in the face of adversity.
    Jíshǐ miàn duì kùnjìng, wǒmen yě cóng bù shīqù xīwàng.

Reunion and Unity (团圆和团结)

Staying up all night on Chinese New Year is also a time-honored tradition that emphasizes the importance of family reunion and unity. Families come together to share a special midnight feast, known as the "reunion dinner," during which they enjoy delicious food and engage in lively conversations. Staying awake 醒着 (xǐng zhe) together fosters a sense of closeness and togetherness among family members, reinforcing the bonds of love and kinship. It's a time for families to set aside their differences and come together in harmony to celebrate the start of a new chapter.

醒着 (xǐng zhe), adj, awake


  1. She is still awake at this late hour.
    Tā zài zhège shēnyè réngrán xǐng zhe.
  2. The baby remained awake throughout the night.
    Bǎobao zhěng yè dōu xǐng zhe.

Cultural Heritage (文化遗产)

The tradition of staying up all night on Chinese New Year is deeply rooted in cultural heritage and superstitions. According to folklore, staying awake throughout the night is believed to bring good luck, longevity, and prosperity in the year ahead. Many people also engage in various activities and rituals during the night to ward off evil spirits and ensure a smooth transition into the new year. From setting off firecrackers to hanging red decorations, these customs are passed down from generation to generation as a way of preserving cultural identity and beliefs.

Key Sentences:

  1. We stayed up all night on Chinese New Year to welcome the arrival of the new year.
    Wǒmen zài chúxī yè shǒusuì, yíngjiē xīnnián de dàolái.
  2. My family and I gather together to stay up all night on Chinese New Year.
    Wǒ hé wǒ de jiārén tuánjù zài yīqǐ, zài chúxī yè shǒusuì.
  3. Staying up all night on Chinese New Year is a traditional practice believed to bring good luck.
    Zài chúxī yè shǒusuì shì yī zhǒng chuántǒng xísú, bèi rènwéi néng dài lái hǎoyùn.

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