BEFORE NEW YEAR's EVE
The celebration actually starts on New
Year's Eve with the reunion dinner. By New Year’s Eve, you should have
done the following:
- Clean the entire home to get
rid of all the things that are associated with the old year.
- Put away all brooms and
- Pay all your debts.
- Resolve differences with
family members, friends, neighbors and business associates.
- Buy the following:
- red money envelopes
- oranges and/or tangerines
- circular candy tray
- flowers (especially plum
blossom, peach blossom, water lily)
- a new set of clothes and
shoes for children, preferably something red or orange.
- Get new dollar bills from
the bank. Insert the new dollar bills into the red envelopes. Now the
red envelope is called a lee see or lucky money envelope.
(note: Very few modern
families follow all the "cleaning" traditions.)
ON NEW YEAR’s EVE:
- Get together with close
family members (not including married daughters and their families)
for the "reunion" dinner.
- Pay respect to ancestors and
household gods. Acknowledge the presence of ancestors because they are
responsible for the fortunes of future generations.
- Open every door and window
in your home at midnight to let go of the old year.
ON NEW YEAR’s DAY:
- Decorate your home with
symbols of good fortune. Here are some suggestions:
- Colors: Bright red
(happiness); gold/orange (wealth & happiness).
- Fruits: Oranges and
tangerines (good health & long life); tangerines with leaves
intact (long lasting relationships; fruitful and multiply as in having
children); persimmons (happiness and wealth).
- Circular candy tray
(candy for sweet and circular for togetherness).
- Flowers: If flowers bloom
on New Year’s Day, it will be a prosperous year.
- Red banners or couplets
with New Year wishes and symbols of good fortune in gold.
- Here are some suggestions
- - Jai - a combination
of food that represents good fortune. Jai comprises of ginkgo
nut, black moss, dried bean curd, bamboo shoots, vermicelli and
- - Fish and chicken represent
prosperity. Always present the fish and chicken as a whole. Do not cut
them in pieces. The head, tail and feet (for chicken) must be
presented to symbolize completeness.
- - Noodles represent
longevity. Again, they should not be cut.
- - Desserts include oranges,
Chinese New Year cake (ni gao) and prosperous cakes (they look
like golden nuggets).
DO’s & DON'Ts on NEW YEAR’s DAY:
- Greet others with "Gung
Hey Fat Choy" which means "Wishing You Prosperity and
- Give two lee see’s to
each child. Because happiness comes in two’s, do not just give one. This
is your way of passing good luck to the next generation. Business owners
also give lee see’s to employees and associates.
- Wear brand new clothes -
preferably in red. Children should wear new clothes and new shoes.
- Don’t wash your hair.
- Don’t sweep the floor.
- Don’t greet people who are
- Don’t drop your chopsticks.
- Don’t say the number
‘four’ (Chinese homonym for death) or mention death.
- Don’t borrow or lend money.
As you prepare for this
important holiday, think of the changes you want to make in your life ...
perhaps spend more time with your family, reduce your credit card debts or
pursue a new interest. Gung Hey Fat Choy ... and Happy New Year!