Little New Year (Chinese: Xiaonian), usually a week before the lunar New Year, falls on Feb 1 this year. It is also known as the Festival of the Kitchen God, the deity who oversees the moral character of each household.
Here are six things you should know about the Little New Year, another sign of the start of spring.
1. Offer sacrifices to Kitchen God
File photo shows people participate in a sacrificial offering to the Kitchen God in Nantong, Jiangsu province, Feb 11, 2015. [Photo by Xu Peiqin/Asianewsphoto]
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.
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.