A Dialogue on Chinese New Year!

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What is Chinese New Year?

It’s the new year as per Chinese Lunar Calendar.

How many days is it celebrated?

Well, in Singapore it is celebrated for two days, Vietnam a week, China two weeks. It really depends.

What do you do at Chinese New Year?

We try to meet all the near and dear ones. It is a chance to meet all the family members and eat together and perhaps gamble.

Gamble?

Yes, a lighthearted game within the family.

Do you have any special preparation before the new year besides food?

Of course, we deep cleanse our house. But you must remember not to touch the broom or mop on the eve and few days into the New Year.

Really?

Yes, the belief is to sweep into the house. Basically, you start from the main door and sweep into the house. Luck “CAI” must stay inside the family or house. But preferably don’t do that on the eve.

Is dust associated with wealth?

It’s a symbolic reference. But, who would want to sweep away good luck?

Any other superstitions?

You bet there are. Eating porridge, cutting hair, needlework, to name a few. Porridge is considered a poor choice of food or say not a royal breakfast. Cutting hair is a sign of depleting wealth. Needlework or working with sharp tools can result in accidents and you might be rushed to hospital. It is a bad omen.

What is considered good?

Wearing bright clothes, especially Red is considered good. You must have noticed all the “AngBao’s” (or envelopes) are in red color.

So, all of you receive “AngBao’s”?

All the unmarried children in the family receive “AngBao’s” from all the married couples.

Interesting? Singles must feel very lucky.

Yes, but you must be prepared to answer the impending question “When are you getting married?”

Apart from “AngBao’s” do you exchange gifts?

Yes, we do. A pair of Mandarin oranges is presented to the host. Sometimes an extra pair is offered to the grandparents too.

New Year eve is considered one of the most sacred event in Chinese tradition and it is spent with immediate family. We even stay awake until midnight in the belief that it would bring longevity to the parents.

Since you are leaving for vacation, I must wish you a very Happy New Year! 

Gong Xi Fa Cai

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