Chinese New Year is a major festival which is steeped with many traditions and practices. Lucky for you, Cube has got the low down of how to navigate this holiday period with good karma in abundance.
First thing you should know is that the coming year is the Year of the Dog. The Chinese Zodiac is a cycle of 12 different animals, each with their special significance. At the eleventh position of the cycle, the Dog exemplifies loyalty and honesty. People born in these years are usually associated with these traits. Depending on the zodiac which you were born under, each year has special meaning and it’s quite often that you’ll see people going to temples and fortune tellers to augment their luck as well as mitigate any hurdles that may crop up in the New Year.
Spring Cleaning & Decorating
The start of Chinese New Year pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the year and so it’s common practice to clean the house and make it look good for the festive season. Whether it’s just storing away your non-essentials (Cube can help!) or cleaning the whole house to make it spotlessly clean, it’s a great way to welcome the New Year. Of course, decorating with festive charms and auspicious flowers and plants will help enhance your New Year karma even further.
Other than decorations, plants and flowers, one of the popular traditions of the Chinese New Year is to celebrate with new clothes. Virtually a godsend for clothing retailers, you will see plenty of red, purple and gold colours for sale. So why not treat yourself and get something smart so that you won’t stand out for the wrong reasons.
Family Reunion Dinner
The night before Chinese New Year is traditionally reserved for a family reunion dinner. Often seeing multiple generations gathering together for this special occasion, it is also a prelude to merry making deep into the night to welcome the arrival of the coming of the New Year.
For young singles and children, Chinese New Year is often associated with the receiving of “Red Envelopes” or lucky/red packets as they are also known. Elders and married couples will give these “red envelopes” with money inside as a well wishing to them so for many, it’s the time of the year to have that extra “pocket money” to buy things they have been saving for. Of course, it’s not just the receiver who benefits, as the act of giving will also invite great fortune. Just remember, the amount put in must be an even number as odd number gifts are often associated with funerals.
New Year’s Markets
Although many Chinese New Year activities are associated with the home, there are also many traditional activities that take you out of it. One of the most popular is the New Year’s Market. The name is actually a little misleading as the market actually runs up to the turning of the New Year and closes from the start of the New Year. The most popular time of the market is the actual eve of the New Year where many families goes out after their dinner to enjoy the atmosphere of the impending New Year as well as walk off some of that hearty feast they’ve just consumed.
Praying at the Temple
With the closing of the New Year’s Market, it doesn’t mean you are back to being stuck at home though. Many will go visit friends and family in the start of the Chinese New Year to spread festive cheers (with many red envelopes given) as well as going to temples to pray. The start of the year will often see temples packed with people as everyone is eager to start their year with the proper blessing for prosperity. Whatever your belief, it’s definitely a sight to behold but be warned, it’s really packed.
For those of you who just enjoy the simple pleasures of spacious living at home, remember to take this opportunity to let Cube help you store away your non-essentials as you gear towards a Happy and Prosperous Year of the Dog!