8 things to do to prepare for Chinese (Lunar) New Year
UPDATE: In 2014, Chines New Year is on the 1st February. It’s the year of the wild horse : )
First of all I have 2 disclaimers when it comes to this blog post.
1. I’m actually not Chinese and …
2. I’ve been accused of ‘being asian’ whenever I want to be – which basically means, I say I’m asian whenever it’s convenient for me LOL. Truth is I only spent 8 months growing up in Vietnam so … yea. I’m a hybrid so I only take on the asian beliefs when they make sense to me 🙂
So … Why am I writing this post?
Well I’ve been telling my friends it’s Chinese New Year this week (1st February 2014) and that I’m preparing for it. I guess growing up in an asian family, I take for granted that not everyone prepares for the lunar new year like we do.
Traditionally for me, the lunar new year means lots of food, red packets of ‘lucky money’ and cleaning up my room. But being so far from home and family these days, I have to consciously choose to take part in this ‘bringing in the lunar year’ ritual.
So here are 8 things I’ll be doing to prepare for the new year and I recommend you choosing at least one you like and doing it too 🙂
1. Clean your room and your home
For me this means calling my lovely cleaner and getting her in to do a big clean sweep of the house. But more importantly, I’ll clearing out my wardrobe before the new year and giving away anything I no longer need. It’s about clearing the old so you have space for the new.
2. Return all things that you have borrowed from others
This refers to money, clothes, books, emotional baggage … anything that is not longer yours, give it back.
3. Fix anything that is broken
This includes relationships, your car, your home, anything. For me this mainly has to do with getting my alterations done and clothes mended (sad but true!). You want closure on as many things as possible before bringing in the new year.
4. Cut your hair prior to the new year (ie. before 1st February 2014)
They say you cannot cut your hair during the first 15 days of the new year as this resembles cutting off all your good luck and good fortune. Personally for me, it’s a great excuse to head to the hair dressers : )
5. Make arrangements to spend time with your family
What you do on new years day is really important and spending time with family was a given for me growing up. Here I need to make a conscious effort to spend quality time with those I love and care about since my family are on the other side of the world. Go out for a nice meal and enjoy yourself (you’re not suppose to be in the kitchen anyway – refer to 3 things you shouldn’t do on new years day at the bottom).
6. Wear new clothes on the first day of the new year
When I was 13 I spent my first lunar new year in Vietnam and I was amazed to see how important it was for everyone to wear new clothes. Everyone was getting their outfits tailor made as what they wore had to bring them joy and happiness. Again it’s about letting go of the old and bringing in the new. I usually wear something red for good luck – even if it’s just my lipstick.
7. Buy flowers for your home
Buds and flowers represent rebirth and new growth and having them bloom in your home creates hope and promise for the new year. Daffodils or hyacinths are especially auspicious. Azaleas, pussy willows, lotus and peonies are also very good. I’ve also been told lucky bamboo plants are another good option.
8. Umm … wear red underwear!
This is a new one I’m throwing in. I can’t say this is an old tradition for me because the idea was only just given to me yesterday. A good friend and mentor of mine told me to buy red underwear (red = good luck and good fortune) and to wear it on new years eve, 9th February. I like the sound of this tradition (ie. another excuse to shop!) so I’m taking this one board 😉
And on that note, I thought this was a good excuse to post some pics of Dita Von Tesse who I find stunningly beautiful and absolutely delicious in red!
ps. Here are 3 things NOT TO DO on new years day – Update – 1st February 2014
1. Don’t clean your house. Traditionally this was ‘don’t sweep your house’ as you will be sweeping all your money away.
2. Don’t cook or use sharp objects. Stay away from the kitchen and don’t use knives or scissors as you’ll be cutting away all your good fortune.
3. Avoid the newspaper and news. It’s a day to be happy and not worry about anything. You want to be thinking happy thoughts so best to avoid the media altogether.
Happy Chinese New Year! X