I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Chinese New Year. Granted, I’m half-Chinese, so it’s probably in my blood to like this holiday. But that’s not the main reason why I love it. I love it because it gives me a real chance to clean out all the bad energy from last year and create the beautiful vision of what I want this coming year to bring. Standard New Years on January 1st is always so stressful for me because I’m just finishing up the holidays and haven’t had much time to reflect on what I truly desire for the next year.
This year, Chinese New Year is happening on Monday, February 8. The Chinese base their New Year according to the Lunar moon cycle. They say that the way you start the New Year sets the tone for the rest of the year. So, why not start it off clean and bright and full of energy?
In order to prepare for the new year, here are some Chinese New Year customs that I find very helpful:
- Clean the house from top to bottom. Before the new year (in this case, February 8), clean your house from top to bottom. This gets rid of all the bad luck gathered from the previous year. NOTE: Do not sweep anything for the first few days after the new year! You will be sweeping away all the new luck you are bringing in if you do so!
- Settle all unfinished business. Still got bills to pay? Unresolved conflicts with friends? Start off the new year fresh by paying off all your debt, reconciling with friends, and completing tasks at work that have been hanging over your head.
- Wash your money and put it nice and neatly back in your wallet. Money bills are actually SUPER dirty. Think about all the places it has been to, all the hands and surfaces it has touched. Gently wash your money in the sink (it is made of cotton after all). Then lay it out to dry. Iron it if you must. Then put it back into your wallet clean and fresh. This will encourage more money to come into your life.
- Wear red and gold. Red and gold are very lucky colors for the Chinese. Red symbolizes vitality of life and happiness. Gold symbolizes wealth and prosperity. And who wouldn’t want a little more of that in our life? I personally don’t have a bunch of red clothes, so I don on some red nail polish, red lipstick, and even a red headband paired with some gold jewelry for luck.
- Put your knives away. It is a Chinese belief that you should not use a knife during the first few days of the New Year because you are “cutting off” all the good luck for the coming year. Because of this, prepare several days worth of meals this weekend to ensure you won’t have to use a knife for the first few days. This is why Chinese people have a huge feast the night before and the day of.
- Have a feast. The Chinese New Year’s feast is a huge one that takes many days to prepare. They want to ensure a bounty of food for the coming weeks as relatives and friends are usually coming by to celebrate. Food is very important to the Chinese as food is a sign of prosperity. The more food you have during Chinese New Year, the more abundance you will have that year. Bring on the food baby!
- Buy lots of oranges and tangerines. Oranges in Chinese sounds like the word “gold, and tangerines in Chinese sounds similar to to the word “luck”. Therefore, these two fruits have an auspicious meaning to bring in good luck and wealth. The orange is also a prayer/wish for good fortune. Fresh oranges and tangerines is a symbol of life and a new beginning. Bring them as a gift to any Chinese household and you will be greeted with many smiles and gratitude.
- Pay respect to your ancestors. Before any of the celebrations begin, the Chinese will go to temples and pray for good fortune for the upcoming year. They might as for something specific or just a general request for continual abundance and good luck in their lives. My mother has an altar in her house specifically for my grandparents (who passed away). She tends to pray there. You can pray however is comfortable for you. The Chinese believe that their ancestors are always watching over them from above. If you can’t get to a temple or a church, find a quiet place in your home, close your eyes and talk to them. Whether in your mind or out loud, the Chinese believe that your ancestors will hear you and look out for you.
I hope this helps you celebrate the Chinese New Year with me! If nothing else, you will have a super clean house and plenty of food for the next week.
Happy cleaning and happy feasting!