Chinese New Year is also known as the spring festival, as it marks the end of the coldest days, and brings a fresh start.
Firecrackers are supposed to scare off bad luck, which is done at midnight on New Year’s Eve – although I remember when I was studying post-grad acupuncture in Guangzhou, they were always setting off firecrackers!
In order to bring good luck and avoid having bad luck in the coming year, Chinese culture says to:
- Do a thorough clean two days before the first day of the New Year. This sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year, and makes way for the good, while cleaning on the first day is forbidden, because that will sweep away the newly arrived good luck!
- At this time gifts are given. This may not apply to everyone, but in case you are invited to a traditional celebration, here is a list of what is best not to give: items that are associated with funerals, such as handkerchiefs, towels and chrysanthemums; sharp objects that symbolise cutting a tie, like scissors and knives; certain words that in Chinese sound like unpleasant topics – ‘clock’ because it sounds like funeral ritual, ‘pear’ sounds like ‘to separate’; and ‘umbrella’, which sounds like ‘fall apart’
- Avoid arguing or swearing, fighting and crying. All issues should be resolved peacefully.
- Avoid using scissors and knives. All food must be bought and prepared in advance.
- No haircut or washing on the first day of the New Year –having a bath or washing one’s clothes are considered to wash away all the year’s good luck. ‘Hair’ in Chinese is pronounced ‘fa’, which means prosperity, thus having a haircut would symbolise losing money. So, do these things the day before.
- Do not demand repayment of a debt on this day- it is bad luck for both parties, as is borrowing money also.
- Don’t wear white – this is the colour of death, in many parts of Asia.
- Do wear red – it represents happiness, prosperity, truth, virtue and sincerity – wear red underpants on the day.
The New Year starts on 12th February 2021 and lasts for about two weeks.
Clare Donnelley is an experienced practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) at Bondi Junction Health Space Clinic. If you would like you to be in harmony with nature, come in for a relaxing acupuncture treatment soon!
And the greeting is: Goong Si Fat Choy!
Look out for Clare’s next blog about what to expect during The Year of the Metal Ox