2018 Chinese New Year: Welcoming the Year of the Earth Dog

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai! 

happy new year in chinese characters

As not many of you may know, I went to Chinese school from nursery (pre-school) until high school.  If they had a college department, I would probably still be enrolled there.  Basically, I grew up exposed to Chinese traditions/customs; and I would like to share some of my observations on the practices my Chinese friends and their families do to prepare for the Lunar New Year.

(Disclaimer:  Some of you may agree or disagree with what are listed below.  These are my personal observations growing up exposed to a Chinese community for 12 years.) 

  1. Spring Clean – Just like how most of us prepare to welcome a new year, it is imperative to clean the entire house and put away things that were not used for 2 years.  These items are believed to have dead energies  that would hinder “fu” or good luck from coming in your home.

    baby clothes
    Let go of clothes and items that were not used in the last 2 years. 
  2. Red – “Hong” or the color Red is always associated with “fu.”  Wearing red clothes are believed to bring luck and happiness.  Also, red tablecloth should be used with yellow oranges or “kiat-kiat” scattered around the house.

    kiat kiat chinese mandarin orange
    “Kiat-kiat” or Chinese mandarin orange
  3. Early Riser – Waking up and taking a bath between 5am-7am is a must.

    You’ve got to rise and shine… early! 
  4. Sticky & Sweet – We all know eating sticky and sweet food like tikoy and suman are believed to signify harmonious relationships and closer family ties.  This practice has been adopted by Filipinos as well.

    Small-sized plain Tikoy I got from the supermarket for Php100. 
  5. Music – To further invite “fu,” play rhythmic music.  The louder it is, the more luck it brings as it is believed to scare away the negative spirits.  Hence, the drumbeats of the dragon and lion dances.

    Chinese dragon dance
    Chinese dragon dances are performed in houses and business establishments to bring in more “fu.” 
  6. Ang-pao – or what is also commonly referred to as “ampao” is a red envelope with lucky money inside.  It is usually given to children and unmarried people.  (Ang is red in Chinese, while pao means package or envelope). 

    ampao ang-pau ampao chinese money envelope
    These ang-paos were given to me by my Chinese teachers in 1988.  I have these in my possession for 30 years now! 
  7. Plant a tree – The tree or “shu” is a symbol of life or “sheng huo.”  By planting a “shu,” one does his/her part in giving something good for the next generation.

    tree planting
    Let’s give back to Mother Nature so she shall nurture as back.

Wo zhu ni xin nian kuai le! 

(Disclaimer:  Some of you may agree or disagree with what are listed above.  These are my personal observations growing up exposed to a Chinese community for 12 years.) 

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