Chinese New Year is on a different day every year because the holiday is based on the lunar calendar. Learning about my own traditions has always been a hands-on, and sometimes painful, experience. When I was 5, I stuck my chopsticks upright in my bowl of white rice and got whacked. I later learned you only do that when making offerings to the deceased. Oops!
Chinese New Year celebrations began with the legend of a wild beast called Nian. “Nian” in Chinese means year. Nian appeared at the end of every year to cause ruckus in villages and terrorizing villagers. Loud noises and bright lights were used to scare away the wild beast and that’s how Chinese Year celebrations were born. This time of year brings about the strangest superstitions.
- On the eve of Chinese New Year, children should sleep after midnight to ensure their parents will live a long life. I’m not sure if the later you sleep, the longer your parents will live. That might be important. I’m usually out by 12:01 AM.
- Clean the house spotless before the first day of Chinese New Year. This is a must because…
- During Chinese New Year, sweeping and cleaning is a no-no. (I’m all for that.) If you do, you’re sweeping all the good luck out of the door.
- Don’t buy books. In Chinese, the word “book” is a homonym for ‘lose.’ You don’t want a sucky year.
- Don’t buy shoes. In Chinese, the word “shoes” is a homonym for ‘rough.’ You don’t want a hard year either. Unless, you like to hustle.
- Pay off your debts. If you start the new year in the red, you’ll finish the same way. Ahem – Dad (You owe me money.)
- No talks of ghost or death. It’s an extremely bad omen. Boogie Monster? Psh…I’ve seen bigger boogers.
- Wear red – my favorite color and the ultimate bringer of good luck.
- Eat sweets, as in candy, so you’ll have a “sweet” year. Heellllooo, chocolate.
- Open your windows and doors to let in good luck. And the Arctic breeze.
- Put away scissors and knives. Sharp objects cut away your good luck.
- Don’t get a haircut, or you’ll have your good luck chopped off. And trust me, the “barbers” around my way like to chop.
- Don’t wash your hair, or you’ll wash away good luck. Good thing Chinese people don’t have nappy hair.
- Set off firecrackers to welcome the new year and chase away evil spirits. Or if you just like blowing things up.
Thanks @darrickjlee for contributing. I think I’ve got most of it. Right?