A few years ago, I happened to encounter a very Chinese New Year indeed- following the customs of a Chinese family, mostly through cuisine. As the Lunar New Year period unfolded, I continued to find ways in which I could add to my chances of luck and quite frankly- I look back on it as one of my more successful years.
This year, I have decided to dig out as many “do’s” and “don’ts” surrounding Chinese New Year that I can so that you and your family can gear yourself up for a happy, healthy & prosperous year of the Rooster.
Let’s jump straight into it.
Ahead of the Celebrations
1.Clean the house
Cleaning gets rid of all the bad luck gathered throughout the previous year. This also includes getting rid of any burdens such as paying off all your debts & resolving all disputes with friends.
Red and gold banners with New Year messages of good luck decorate the entrances of houses as well as business establishments.
3.Give lai see packets
Sending red envelopes is a way to send good wishes and luck.
NOTE: It is impolite to open a red envelope in front of the person who gives it to you!
4.Have a shared meal with your family
(Having a shared meal with the whole family boosts good family relations)
Some specific tips regarding dining are listed below:
-Prepare food ahead of time, as one of the popular Chinese New Year superstitions states that all knives must be put away.
-Eat lots of noodles as these represent longevity. Just don’t cut them short whilst preparing!
-Eat Shrimp for “Good times” in the coming year. The word shrimp in Chinese is “ha”, which sounds like laughter.
-Eat things with seeds in them as they represent new life.
-Eat broccoli or cauliflower for riches int he coming year. The thousands of blossoms on each stalk represent a blossoming year.
-Eat lettuce, as lettuce symbolises rising fortune.
Tips for News Year Day (29th Jan)
5.Do not take medicine.
It is believed that this encourages bad health for the coming year. Some traditional families smash their medicine cabinet to fend off illness for the year ahead.
6. Do not eat porridge.
It is believed that this encourages poverty in the coming year.
7. Do not use unlucky words.
Words like death encourage, well, death in the year ahead.
8. Do not wash hair or go to bed with wet hair.
It is believed that washing your hair on new years day washes away your good luck for the year ahead.
Generally, the use of knives, needles and scissors is avoided as it is thought to have a depletion of wealth for the forthcoming year.
10. No sweeping.
The sweeping motion is meant to wipe away luck for the coming year. This also goes for taking out the garbage.
11. Do not wash clothes.
Similarly thought to wash away luck and wealth for the coming year.
12. Do not eat meat for breakfast.
This is believed to offend the Buddhist gods who arise over the Lunar New Year to greet each other.
13. Do not allow your married daughter to visit your house!
This is thought to bring a burden of financial stress upon a family.
14. Do not wear black or white.
Generally, black and white is worn at funerals and can bring an air of bad luck to the year ahead.
15. Do not take an afternoon nap.
It is believed that those who do so will be lazy for the year ahead.
16. Do not wake people up!
It is believed that the awakened will face anxiety and exhaustion for the year to come (one to tell the kids)
17. Do not break things.
(Apart from your medicine cabinet if you are very traditional!) Breaking bowls, plates, vases, mirrors may result in loss and family split in the future.
18. No empty rice bags.
The rice jar indicates peoples living conditions/standards. Having a depleted store of rice indicates hard times ahead.
I am sure that there have been some missed points here, so please do not hesitate to leave them in the discussion board below!
Kung Hei Fat Choi!