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9 Tried and Tested Ways to Welcome the Chinese New Year

Mich Escultura

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Chinese New Year is definitely one of the most festive seasons, filled with Chinese traditions to ensure good fortune for the rest of the year. So to join in the festivities, here’s how you can fully prepare yourself to welcome the New Year!

1. Clean the house

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Free your house from the cluter of the year before and welcome the New Year with a clean slate. The Chinese believe that cleaning the house on the day of the New Year will result in you “sweeping” away good fortune.

2. Get a haircut

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It’s the same as cleaning the house; grooming yourself is just as important as making sure your house is nice and neat. It’s considered bad luck to get a haircut on the week (and sometimes even month!) of the New Year.

3. Go shopping

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New clothes and shoes symbolize a new beginning. They’re best worn after a bath on the eve of the New Year. Other than new clothes, it’s also considered good luck to buy plants that are meant to bring in good luck. Tangerines are a popular choice for bringing in good luck, as well as pussy willow, cherry blossoms, and narcissus.

4. Prepare red envelopes

These envelopes are given out to those you want to wish good luck this year. Fill them up with crisp new notes and hand them over to relatives.

5. Hang up New Year paintings

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These paintings are written on red paper and they contain Chinese symbols for wealth, prosperity, luck, and good fortune. These are often hung on the side of the doors to help luck enter the household. Other popular New Year paintings are those of gods holding weapons, as if to drive the evil spirits away.

6. Light incense

During the New Year, you must also pay homage to your ancestors by lighting up incense. This also helps to drive away malaise like diseases and bad luck.

7. Have a feast

Prepare a huge meal with dishes that symbolize good luck. Whole fish and chicken are often served during the New Year feast. Also, when eating fish, remember not to pick them clean as the leftovers symbolize surplus for the rest of the year.

8. Stay up until the New Year arrives

Make sure you’re awake for the arrival of the New Year, so you can welcome it as you say goodbye to the previous year.

9. Know your greetings

Gung hei fat choy is a popular greeting, and it means “wish you more wealth.” Other popular greetings are san tai gin hong or “wish you good health,” hok jip zeon bou or “make improvements on your study,” maan si jyu ji or “everything goes well as you wish,” dai gat dai lei or “great luck and fortune,” and bo bo go sing or “rise step by step.”

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