I am getting so old my idea of comfortable shoes are these platypus-like urban shoes that I broke out from the closet as a new item of clothing to wear on the first day of the new lunar year. I think my hair is making a thinner ponytail than ever before, and yesterday I couldn’t read the words on a screen not five feet away albeit under dim conditions.
I’m not normally a superstitious person (except when it comes to “sport” I guess) but I do observe certain Chinese New Year rituals even if I don’t know all of the origins. Here I have jot down all that I can remember/gather for the time being….
- No hair-washing on New Year’s day (Loss of good luck)
- No sweeping, which I translate to any kind of house-cleaning (Sweep away our fortune)
- Wear red on New Year’s day (Demons think you’re bloody and dead and won’t pick on you)
- Eat oranges and apples (for their colour)
- Eat shrimp (ha, for happiness), fish (for yu, “plenty”), faht choy (means “prosperity”), noodles (for long life), and chicken (for some reason)
- My mother goes vegetarian on New Year’s day
- I read about having fish on New Year’s Eve dinner and saving some for the next day (symbolizing have yu – “plenty” – and having some left over)
- Whatever you do on New Year’s Day, you will do the rest of the year
- Do not visit relatives on the third day of the new year as it is a day easy to get into an argument
- Day two is the birthday for all dogs (I didn’t know this)
- Traditionally, it is considered bad luck to visit relatives and friends on the fifth day as it will bring them bad luck
- Traditionally, you eat dumplings on the fifth day
- The seventh day of the new year is everyone’s birthday
- The fifteenth day is Chinese Valentine’s Day or the Lantern Festival; traditionally “soup (sweet) dumplings” (tang yuan) are eaten
- As for lucky red packets – married people give (and they give double during the first year of marriage) while single people receive
I can’t think of any more right now….