Quality time with family, endless eating, exchange of sweets and delectable treats, and envelopes of money? All this can only mean one thing: Lunar New Year.
For those of you unfamiliar with this holiday, it is one of the most important Chinese celebrations, lasting 15 days. Each year is based on a 12-year cycle of the Chinese animal zodiac and 2014 is the year of the horse. Those born under this sign are energetic, independent, great communicators, and love to be in a crowd. Can I get a neigh?
There are a myriad of superstitious traditions that one must perform in preparation for and during the New Year. Homes are decorated with flowers and Chinese calligraphy posters. You must clean your house, get rid of stuff, cut your hair, and shower one last time before New Year’s Day. This is to ensure you get rid of bad luck that you’ve accumulated during the year by literally sweeping it out of the house. In contrast, on actual New Year’s Day, you don’t do any of those things, for fear of getting rid of good luck. The next 15 days generally involve a lot of family time; such paying visits to your relative’s homes, bearing gifts of fruits and treats. Married couples will give their unwed and usually younger family members red envelopes of money. It literally pays to be single – all the single ladies now put your hands up!
There is no horsing around when it comes to ringing in the New Year in style. It is customary to wear new clothes, as they symbolize a new beginning. Avoid wearing black, and instead choose red. Red is highly regarded as a lucky color, and is believed to ward off bad fortune. Add a dash of gold and you’re golden for the New Year.
Here’s to wishing you a wonderful and prosperous Year of the Horse – the animal that puts the “hay” in Gung Haaaaay Fat Choy!