After New Year’s Day, floors are swept from the corners inward to the center of the room, and dust is placed in corners and carried out on day 5.
Do not sweep from the front doorway to the outside – move the dust inwards to preserve good fortune.
Cleaning house also means settling all your unfinished business to start fresh for the new year: pay off all your debts, heal discord with friends, complete unfinished business as you can.
Go Shopping – and Get your Hair Cut!
Before Chinese New Year, go shopping for the food you will need for dinners and celebrations, new clothes are a Must Have to bring in the new year. Gifts and Red envelopes, and decorations are bought and prepared. Red is good luck and many are decorated with the gold symbols of Chinese characters.
Cut your hair before the New Year, as nothing sharp is allowed on the holiday.
Decorations: Prepare before New Years Day
Lucky Colors are Red (vitality of life) and Gold (prosperity).
Decorate with bowls of tangerines and oranges, candy, vases of flowers.
Good Luck Plants: Bamboo, Evergreen, Pussy Willow, Peony, Azalea, Plum Blossom.
Banners of red and gold with good luck messages are placed on entrances of homes, commercial business and rooms.
Honoring Ancestors – on the Eve
It is vital to pay respect to the ancestors. New Year’s Eve people will go to the temples and pray for good fortune for the new year. They bring offerings of food and incense to please the spirits of the deceased so that they might bring good luck.
Bang Bang! Firecrackers
As in many cultures, the old year is moved out with noise.
Chinese New Year says good bye to the old and welcome to the new with firecrackers when the clock strikes New Year.
To do: set up one string of your firecrackers(small size) first, and then follow it with three large firecrackers. The louder, the better the luck!
Ringing it in! New Year Bell
Many of us know the power and symbolism of a Bell, and on New Years Eve, at midnight, the ringing of a large bell will drive away bad luck and bring in good fortune.
Set the tone: Taboos and traditions – New Years Day
Chinese New Year’s Day (Jan. 22, 2023)
Chinese people believe that what they do on the first day of the lunar year will affect their luck during that year.
No eating porridge/oatmeal – its a sign of poverty.
Pay all debts off. Do not lend on this day or you will be lending for the year.
Do not borrow or ask for a loan.
Do not use bad or negative language on this day. Never mention death or dying or ghost stories.
Do not refer to the past.
There is “no crying” on New Year’s day or you will cry all through the year.
Children are not reprimanded on this day.
The fortunes of the year relate to the first person you meet and the first words you hear.
Look for a lucky sign such as a red bird or songbird.
Do not greet anyone in their bedroom. Get dressed and sit in the living room.
Do not use knives or scissors on New Year’s Day as this may bring a cutting energy to fortune.
Do not clean or wash your hair New Years Day(often done for 3 days) as it will wash away good luck.
No washing clothes.
Only use even amounts of money, not Odd amounts or bills.
No hospital visits.
No killing of animals.
No taking out garbage.
Do not give Pears, a Handkerchief or Umbrellas as a gift, as they represent parting and break up.
Do not give shoes as they are bad luck.
Do not give mirrors: they bring in ghosts.
Do not give clocks or watches: they resonate to running out of time.
Do not give cut flowers as they are given in a funeral. Choose a healthy potted plant.
A married daughter is not allowed to visit the house of her parents. This creates bad luck to the parents causing economic hardship for the family. Traditionally a married daughter visits the house of her parents on the second day of Chinese New Year.
No wearing white or black clothes.
Wear Red Underwear. Red wards off misfortune and bad luck.
Red envelopes, lai see, with crisp one dollar bills inside, are given to children and unmarried friends for good fortune. Red envelopes are also given as gifts containing money for friends, family members and coworkers. It is customary to give a gift if you are visiting someone’s home during Chinese New Year, so be sure to plan accordingly and purchase or make gifts for those you may be visiting. Do not bring along any unlucky gifts, as noted in the taboos!
When it comes to the food, you may want to plan a traditional meal, complete with symbolic foods. In Chinese culture, serving a whole chicken symbolizes family togetherness, spring rolls symbolize wealth, and noodles symbolize a long life. Plan your meal ahead of time, and go to the store prepared with a list.
New Years Feast and Put Away those Knives
New Year’s Day is festive as families join together to celebrate. As mentioned, all knives are put away and not used. This would cut off good luck for the year. Food is prepared ahead of time, and lots of food planned ahead represents prosperity for the new year.
Traditional food is served that represent good luck: such as Dumplings shaped like old Chinese ingots, symbolizing wealth.
Flowers And Plants Bring In New Luck And Chi
Everybody flocks to the markets to prepare gifts and decorate the house with the traditional “lucky plants”, these are some of the most popular:
- orange trees mandarin or kumquat trees
- lucky bamboos
- branches of cherry blossoms
- stalks of pussy willows
(look over the taboos, to avoid those negative gifts)
It is essential to bring a bag of oranges and tangerines when visiting family and friends.
Oranges and Tangerines represent abundant happiness.
Traditional Candy tray is arranged in an octagon or circle to start the New Year “sweetly”.
Place a red envelope, lai see, on the center compartment of the tray after taking candy from the tray.
Each candy represents good fortune:
- Candied melon – growth and good health
- Red melon seed – dyed red to symbolize joy,happiness, truth and sincerity
- Lychee nut – strong family relationships
- Cumquat – prosperity (gold)
- Coconut – togetherness
- Peanuts – long life
- Longnan – many good sons
- Lotus seed – many children
During Chinese New Year, Pray for good luck.
Visit a temple to pray and ask for blessings is very auspicious during the Chinese New Year. In China, Many go to the famous Longhua Temple, to ask for good fortune.
May you all have a wonderful year!