In the past, Chinese people started the preparation at the 8th of the last lunar month. There was even a piece of doggerel about the preparation.
On 23, make candies; on 24, make a thorough cleanup; on 25, make sweet potatoes; on 26, brew beef; on 27, slaughter a rooster; on 28, prepare dough (To prepare dough means to make fermented dough); on 29, steam Mantou.
New Year (Chinese: Xiaonian), which falls about a week before the lunar New Year, is also known as the Festival of the Kitchen God, the deity who oversees the moral character of each household. In one of the most distinctive traditions of Spring Festival, a paper image of the Kitchen God is burned on Little New Year, dispatching the god's spirit to Heaven to report on the family's conduct over the past year. The Kitchen God is then welcomed back by pasting a new paper image of him beside the stove. From this vantage point, the Kitchen God will oversee and protect the household for another year. The close association of the Kitchen God with the Lunar New Year has resulted in Kitchen God Festival being called Little New Year.
There are numerous customs associated with honoring the Kitchen God and determining the date of Little New Year. The date of this holiday was sometimes assigned according to location, with people in northern China celebrating it on the twenty-third day of the twelfth lunar month, and people in southern China celebrating it on the twenty-fourth. People make sacrifices to the Kitchen God on this day. A paper image is burnt dispatching the god's spirit to Heaven to report on the family's conduct over the past year. The Kitchen God is then welcomed back by pasting a new paper image of him beside the stove.
you should know about the Little New Year, another sign of the start of spring.
Offer sacrifices to Kitchen God
In one of the most distinctive traditions of the Little New Year is the burning of a paper image of the Kitchen God, dispatching the god's spirit to Heaven to report on the family's conduct over the past year. The Kitchen God is then welcomed back by to the home through the pasting of a new paper image of him beside the stove. From this vantage point, the Kitchen God will oversee and protect the household for another year.
The offerings to the Kitchen God include pig's head, fish, sweet bean paste, melons, fruit, boiled dumplings, barley sugar, and Guandong candy, a sticky treat made out of glutinous millet and sprouted wheat.
Most of the offerings are sweets of various varieties. It is thought that this will seal the Kitchen God's mouth and encourage him to only say good things about the family when he ascends to heaven to make his report. The Kitchen God will be invited to sit in a sedan chair for his trip to heaven.
Consequently, the day before Little New Year, the streets and alleyways are filled with vendors selling papier-mâché sedan chairs and paper gold and silver ingots for the Kitchen God's journey.
Although very few families still make offerings to the Kitchen God on this day, many traditional holiday activities are still very popular.
Of course, there are many changes in people’s life with the time. Therefore, the process and contents of the preparation for Spring Festival also changed. However, some traditional customs are still kept. The 24th day on the last lunar month is the day for cleanup. Every household will do home cleaning, sweep their home, clean windows, wash clothes and clean dishes and have a spring-cleaning.
Why make tofu? the Chinese character “腐” has the same pronunciation with character “福 fú” (happiness). Making tofu also means welcoming happiness and a good harvest in the new year.
in Northeast China, people also used to paste paper in the windows on this day. Since living conditions were fairly bad in the old days, people had to paste a layer of paper over their windows to prevent drafts and keep warmth in the room (today, this is still practiced in parts of Northern China, although many people have replaced paper with Saran wrap). Replacing the last year’s paper with new paper and pasting red Spring Festival couplets provides a jubilant atmosphere for the new year.
Your mouth will be watering if you hear this Chinese saying :
[In the final lunar month] the 23rd is the day for melon-shaped maltose eating, the 24th for house cleaning, the 25th for tofu making, the 26th for meat buying, the 27th for chicken preparation, the 28th for leavened dough and the 29th for man tou steaming.
From the 25th day of the last month of the lunar year, people begin their preparation of food for Spring Festival. That is because according to the old tradition, family members are not allowed to use knives to cook on the eve and first day of lunar New Year. On the second day, they begin visiting friends and relatives. Consequently, Chinese people need to get 4 to 5 days’ food done before the holiday starts!
New clothes have been made. All the things for eat and the spring festival dinner are ready. People have pasted couplets and pictures of door gods, and paper cuttings on door panels. at this moment all the preparations are done. When everything is ready, it is the eve of Spring Festival.
The half month continuous preparation for the Spring Festival is in indeed preparation in two aspects. One is to get rid of the old things. To get rid of the dirty, old and unpleasant things. The other is to prepare to welcome the new year.