In ancient times, there were two meanings of keeping the year old: the elderly kept the year old as' leaving the old year ', which means cherishing time; Young people stay up for years to prolong their parents' life. So up to now, many places still have the custom of watching the new year's Eve for their parents, which is a kind of filial piety.
In addition, there are folklores about the new year's Eve vigil:
In Cangzhou, Hebei Province, every family is busy from 23 to 30 every year. Staying up late at night is called 'shou Sui'. This custom is related to grandma Zaowang.
The younger daughter of the Jade Emperor is virtuous and kind, and sympathizes with the poor all over the world. She secretly fell in love with a poor boy who cooked for others. The Jade Emperor was so angry that he beat his little daughter down and suffered with the poor boy. The Queen Mother sympathized with her daughter and interceded with her. Only then did the Jade Emperor reluctantly seal a 'kitchen King's position' for the poor. The poor became the 'Kitchen God' of every family, and the Jade Emperor's little daughter naturally became the 'kitchen King's grandmother'.
Grandma Zao Wang was well aware of the sufferings of the people, so she often brought something to eat, drink, wear and use to the poor people in the name of going back to her mother's house to visit their relatives. The Jade Emperor hated his poor son-in-law and little daughter, and was very angry when he heard that the little daughter brought things back from heaven. He stipulated that they were only allowed to return to heaven on December 23 every year, and they were not allowed to return to heaven the rest of the time.
The next year, it was almost the new year, but the poor people still lacked this and that, and some couldn't even open the lid of the pot. Grandma Zao Wang saw it in her eyes and it hurt in her heart. On the 23rd of the twelfth lunar month, she planned to go back to her mother's house and order food for the poor people. However, I don't even have any stars at home. What if I don't have dry food on the road? When the people knew this, they gathered together to make some noodles, baked two cakes, and took them to grandma Zaowang's road.
Grandma Zaowang went back to heaven and told the jade emperor about the human suffering, but the jade emperor not only felt different, but also suspected that her daughter brought back a poor spirit and asked her to go back that night. Grandma Zao Wang was so angry that she had to leave immediately. On second thought, no, how can she explain to the people when she goes back empty handed? Besides, it can't be cheap, cruel father. At this time, the queen mother also came to stay, so she said, "I won't go. Tomorrow I'll take the broom back to sweep away the poverty."
On the 24th day, grandma Zaowang was putting on a broom. The Jade Emperor came to urge her to go back quickly. She said, 'what's the rush? It's Chinese New Year. There's no tofu at home. I'll turn tofu tomorrow.'
On the 25th day, grandma Zaowang was cutting tofu, and the Jade Emperor came to urge her to go back quickly. She said, 'what's the hurry? I have to cut meat tomorrow!'
On the 26th day, grandma Zaowang had just cut the meat. The Jade Emperor urged her to go back quickly again. She said, 'what's the rush? My family is so poor that I can't afford to raise a chicken. I'll kill a chicken tomorrow!'
On the 27th day, grandma Zaowang was killing chickens, and the Jade Emperor came to urge her to go back quickly. She said, 'hurry up, take some dry food on the road, and I'll make noodles and steam steamed bread tomorrow!' On the 28th day of new year's Eve, grandma Zaowang was steaming steamed bread. The Jade Emperor came to urge her to go back quickly. She said, 'what's the rush? I'll have a wedding wine for the new year. I'll go to fetch wine tomorrow.'
On the 29th day, grandma Zaowang had just returned from drinking wine, and the Jade Emperor came to urge her to go back quickly. She said, 'what's the hurry? We can't even eat dumplings all year round. I'll make dumplings tomorrow!'
On the 30th day, grandma Zaowang was making dumplings. The Jade Emperor was very angry and asked her to go back today. Grandma Zao Wang prepared almost everything, so she didn't talk much. She just couldn't bear to leave the queen mother until dark. That night, every family didn't sleep, waiting for grandma Zaowang to come back.
As soon as people saw that grandma Zaowang came back and brought back many good things for the new year, they lit incense, paper yards and firecrackers to meet grandma Zaowang. At this time, it was the fifth watch of new year's Eve.
In order to commemorate grandma Zao Wang and not forget her kindness, people offer sacrifices to Zao on the 23rd of the twelfth month of the lunar calendar every year and don't sleep at night, which is called 'shou Sui'. It's also called 'staying 100 years old'. This is to wait for the virtuous and kind-hearted grandma Zaowang to return to the world from heaven. This custom has been handed down to this day.