Jan 29, 2017 Business & Finance Comments Off on Chinese New Year Encyclopedia: The second day
The second day of the Chinese New Year is known as kainian, or "beginning of the year". The second day is also a time when married daughters return home to visit their parents.
In the old days, married daughters were considered part of their husbands' families and no longer members of their own families. Therefore, they were not able to go back to their parents' homes very often.
In Taiwan, parents invite their married daughters and sons-in-law to have a meal together on the second day of the lunar month. This was traditionally an opportunity for a family to reunite with their daughter and to learn whether or not she was happy in her new home.
Traditionally, married daughters are taken back to their parents' homes by their brothers. This is to prevent the daughters' mothers-in-law from keeping them at home for housework. If the married women do not have brothers, their male cousins can take over the task. When married daughters go back to their parents' places, they bring gifts to their brothers to show that they married well.
Traditionally, it is very important for married daughters to return to their parents' homes on the second day of the first lunar month. If they do not return home on that specific day for three years in a row, they are seen as betraying their ancestors and will not be allowed to return for the rest of their lives. Therefore, even if married daughters are not able to go to their parents' homes on the second day of the first lunar month, they have to send their clothes back to symbolize their return.
Why should married daughters return to their parents' homes on the second day rather than the first day? It is said that deceased family members return home from heaven on Lunar New Year's Eve and stay until New Year's Day. If they see people who are not from the family, then they will not be willing to return. As married daughters are no longer part of the family, they cannot be at their parents' homes on those two days.
Although some people in Taiwan still follow the customs and do not want to see their married daughters other than on the second day of the first lunar month, more and more people forego tradition for the sake of being together as a family. The government has also been campaigning for equal rights for married daughters.
On a side note, some believe that the second day of the first lunar month is also the birthday of all dogs, who get special treats for the day.
Source: Radio Taiwan International
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