taboos, traditions and superstitions for the chinese new year
1) no cleaning.
you have to clean on new year's eve (today), i did mine yesterday. that means no dusting, no sweeping, no nothing, nada. (do you love it?) and all cleaning supplies must be put away. the thought is that all of your good fortune will be swept away. you also cant wash your hair... again, washing away your fortune
fyi... this doesnt just apply to new years... you should never sweep dirt out of or remove the trash out of the front door of your house or business. it should always go out the back door. yes. yes. yes. we do this ... every now and then paul tries to sneak out the front on trash day, then i say..."its your fortune sweetheart..." he turns. he looks. he shakes his head and goes out the back door, mumbling the whole time, but he does it and makes his crazy wife happy. thats one reason why i love him.
2) out with the old, in with the new...
at midnight (tonite) you have to open your doors to "let the old year out." youre also supposed to shoot off firecrackers to "welcome in the new year." i will not be doing the firecracker part... we're friends with our neighbors and i want it to stay that way. as far as paul's concerned- i know where to draw the line... i will however, be opening the doors, for a few minutes at least... he will be telling me to close them because its cold, he'll mention something about the heating bill, i'll ask him to "just go with it honey". roll his eyes. he'll shake his head and he'll go back to bed, mumbling something about me being crazy. if you arent crazy (like me) and are planning on sleeping through the night, then just keep your windows open (as much as possible) tomorrow.
3) what you do today will set the precedent for the year
this is a new beginning! that means no talking about the past year. you also cant tell ghost stories (who does that???) or have any conversations about death (who talks about death???). hmmm... no problem there! no foul language, bad words or negativity of any kind. you cant cry on new years... if you do, youll spend the year in tears. dont spank your kids and make them cry either.... do you want to hear your children crying for a year? youre just going to have to deal with the rugrats being rugrats for the next three days.
dont forget to pay all your debts & bills. if you start the year in the red, superstition says that's where you'll end the year. dont make any loans... otherwise you'll be lending all year long.
4) dress to impress...
red is the best color to wear...it wards off evil spirits and brings luck. if you cant pull off red, at least wear something bright. a good attitude is also a plus. the wearer of both of these is sure to have a bright, sunny year! bright AND sunny??? who knew???
do not, under any circumstances wear black or white. they symbolize death and mouring... i'm sure i dont have to explain why... death and mourning are bad.
5) no cutting things...
you cant use knives or scissors for the next three days. don't get your hair cut either... symbolically, youre cutting off your good fortune.
6) let them eat cake!
you're supposed to eat a lot of sweets... you guessed it... youll have a sweeter year. (did i tell you???) at this time please refer to my secret weapon.
7) mange'! mange'! mange'!
youre supposed to eat dumplings and pork... i cant remember why... if someone finds out, let me know. what a great excuse to call a friend for a "no holds barred" feast at your favorite chinese restaurant??? (oh, how i miss pf changs... yes, i know that isnt real chinese. i can still miss it, cant i?) anyway... if you go to lunch, just make sure you take someone that is positive and prefereably wearing red and a big smile!
here are some other goodies youre sposed to eat and what they symbolize... melon (growth and good health), coconut (unity), kumquat (gold- prosperity)- we actually found these at our market the other day... they are a fave from my childhood; lotus seeds (fertility), lychee nut (close family relationships), peanuts (longevity), red melon seeds (red; for happiness, joy, honesty and sincerity), tangerines (abundance, happiness), prawns (liveliness), noodles (longevity).
if you decide to go to a chinese restaurant try this vegetarian dish called "jai." chinese families eat this on new years... the ingredients are root or fibrous vegetables. they include: lotus seed (hope for many male offspring), ginkgo nut (hope for silver), black moss seaweed (hope for wealth), dried bean curd (more hope for wealth and happiness), bamboo shoots (wishing all goes well). okay... let me just say that not only have i never heard of most of these items, i have no earthly idea where one would find any of these items... especially not up here in deez dem mountains.!
for more info on the traditions and history of the chinese new year celebration, check this out.
this is the year of the rat (yuk), so dont forget to read your chinese horoscope!
enjoy and happy new year's eve! xx~tara