You may or may not know, but the Chinese New Year is just around the corner! Beginning with the new moon on February 3rd (tomorrow), the celebration continues and then culminates with the full moon and Lantern Festival on February 15th.
Here in the Pater Household, we are helping to celebrate The Year of the Rabbit and are learning all about the traditions and customs of Chinese New Year, as well as a little about China for good measure.
Consider what is written below the abridged version. 🙂
First off, one must know how to greet the New Year:
- “Gung hay fat choy” is a New Year’s greeting meaning “May you become prosperous”
- “Sun nien fai lok” is the traditional “Happy New Year!”
Secondly, some interesting tidbits:
The entire house should be cleaned before New Year’s Day. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year’s Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. After New Year’s Day, the floors may be swept. Beginning at the door, the dust and rubbish are swept to the middle of the parlor, then placed in the corners and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day. At no time should the rubbish in the corners be trampled upon. In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold, you will sweep one of the family away. Also, to sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door.
Shooting off firecrackers on New Year’s Eve is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the New Year. On the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, every door in the house, and even windows, have to be open to allow the old year to go out.
Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words. Negative terms and the word “four” (Ssu), which sounds like the word for death, are not to be uttered. Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo. References to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.
If you cry on New Year’s day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they may be mischievous.
Do not use knives or scissors on New Year’s Day as this may cut off fortune.
The first person one meets and the first words heard are significant as to what the fortunes would be for the entire year. It is a lucky sign to see or hear songbirds or red-colored birds or swallows.
Thirdly, some crafting fun:
And fourthly, what we’ll be cooking up and serving for the feast:
- Egg Rolls to symbolize wealth
- Shrimp Fried Rice for happiness and joy
- Chinese Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry for longevity
- Chinese Tea Eggs for prosperity
- Hainanese Chicken Rice for health