10 Essentials: CNY Edition

If you don’t already know. Here are the 10 Chinese New Year must-dos and must-haves:

  1. Clean your house before CNY
Photo credit: Google

Cleaning weeks before Chinese New Year is totally fine because Chinese believe cleaning the house before the festive season might clear away last year’s bad luck and start fresh for the coming year.

  1. Decorate everything


Chinese believe that decoration is one of the important elements during Chinese New Year which bring good fortune to the family. Some of the decorations, such as red lanterns, red Chinese paper-cuts and Spring Couplets are normally decorated in the living room.

  1. Wear red


Wearing red shirts are essential during Chinese New Year. Chinese believe that red will scare away evil spirits and bad fortune. Moreover, it is believed that wearing new clothes symbolizes a new beginning in the New Year. Therefore, do not wear black or white during the festival season as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.

  1. Visit your family and friends


During Lunar New Year, Chinese visit and reunite with their family and friends to strengthen ties among one another. Delicious festival cuisines are served to family and friends who visit their home. Some of the well-known Chinese festival cuisines are dumplings, yee sang, tang-yuan (glutinous ball), nian-gao (glutinous rice cake) as well as pomelo and tangerine fruits are served to guests.

  1. Carry angpau


Ang Pau is given by married adults to children and unmarried adults during Chinese New Year to give blessings and bring good fortune and happiness to the recipients. In addition, the amount of money which contain in the Ang Pau usually ends with an even digit according to Chinese beliefs. For instance, even number such as 88 and 168 are both lucky numbers while odd numbers are usually not preferred as it traditionally associated with funerals.

However, the money should not be given in “4” as the pronunciation of the word “4” resembles the word “death” in accordance with Chinese beliefs.

  1. Pay your debts & make amends


Chinese believe that any outstanding or unpaid loans will bring misfortune or bad luck to debtors. If you have borrowed money from your family or friends last year, you should pay them back before the start of the Chinese New Year. However, if someone owes you money, do not go to his or her home to demand it as anyone who does it is believed to be unlucky for all year round. Also, this same goes for unresolved arguments and disputes or grudges.

  1. Watch lion or dragon Dance


It is good to observe the lion dance in shopping malls or parades during Chinese New Year. In Malaysia, numerous shopping malls will be hosting a lion dance for celebration. Hosting lion dance during Chinese New Year is believed to bring good fortune, wealth and prosperity for the business in the coming year as lion is said to be an auspicious animal. So, don’t be shy to host one yourself at home!

  1. Setting off firecrackers and fireworks


Firecrackers are used to celebrate the coming of Chinese New Year. Firecrackers were originally used to scare away the evil spirits. Nowadays, firecrackers are used to celebrate the coming of the New Year as well as enhancing the festive atmosphere. However, many countries have banned and imposed restrictions on the use of firecrackers and fireworks during New Year and other festivals for the sake of safety and environmental protection. Enjoy responsibly guys! 😉

  1. Offering sacrifices to ancestors


Offering sacrifices to ancestors are important during the festive seasons. Chinese often offer sacrifices to their ancestors in the main hall of the house where the ancestor altar is placed. In Chinese traditional culture, offering sacrifices to ancestors shows respect and honour to the departed relatives during the festival season. Moreover, Chinese also believe that their ancestral spirits will bless their descendants and make them become prosperous.

  1. Lantern festival


Lantern festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day or the last day of Chinese New Year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. It is the celebration of the end of Spring Festival. Chinese celebrate it by setting glowing lanterns into the sky, guessing lantern riddles and floating lanterns on the rivers or lakes. They also enjoy eating tang-yuan (glutinous rice ball) during the day and watching lion or dragon dance.

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