Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Tuesday '050208

Chinese New Year just around the corner. I would like to wish all readers a very HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

As a Chinese, do you know what are the old traditions are? As A CHINESE, you should know them, if not you TIDAK LAYAK menjadi orang CINA. Haha...

Just to give a little info, in China and in the Far East, this is also the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Farmers take this opportunity to welcome spring as they plant for the new harvest. Thus, the Lunar New Year is also called the Spring Festival.

Before New Year's Eve
Chinese New Year starts on New Year's Eve with the reunion dinner. Here family members get to reunite. By New Year's Eve, you should have done all of the following.
Hrm.. let's see...

  • Clean the entire home to get rid of all the things that are associated with the old year.
  • Put away all brooms and brushes.
  • 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.
But now I think people seldom follow these old traditions, people find it a hassle. Today, i asked my friends in school today, and almost all don't know what were the old Chinese New Year traditions are. Come on, they are CHINESE. How can they not know their old customs?

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 for food:
  • - Jai - a combination of food that represents good fortune. Jai comprises of ginkgo nut, black moss, dried bean curd, bamboo shoots, vermicelli and scallion.
  • - 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't on New Year's Day:

- Greet others with "Gung Hey Fat Choy" which means "Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth".

- 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 in mourning.

- 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. Gong Xi Fat Choy ... and Happy Chinese New Year!

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