The sheer number of Chinese superstitions is enough to drive you up the Great Wall. Here’s a list of some of the most practiced customs so you can amp up your good fortune for the upcoming year of the rabbit.
1. Before welcoming the new year, clean your house for a fresh start. However, do not clean on the day of the New Year. Sweeping on New Year’s day is said to sweep away one’s good luck and fortune.
2. Eat and serve oranges or tangerines as they symbolize good health.
3. Have fresh flowers in your home – the blooming flowers represent prosperity
4. Light firecrackers to scare away demons and evil spirits
5. On New Year’s day, wear red for happiness and gold for wealth
6. If you are married, give “lai see”, a red envelop with money, to children of the family or other close, unmarried relatives. New bills are the norm. Use both hands to present the red envelope.
7. If you are the recipient of a red envelope, do not open it in front of the person who gave it to you.
8. Do not wash your hair on the day of Chinese New Year or you will wash away your good luck.
Lastly, Chinese New Year celebrations are not complete without a family dinner. Here is a list of traditional dishes that will not only leave your tummy satisfied, but will also have you brimming with good luck, longevity and prosperity for the year to come. So this Chinese New Year, wear some red for luck, hug a rabbit and trade in your Kung Pao Chicken for some of these incredibly tasty dishes.
Peking Duck - This dish, popular for various Chinese celebrations, symbolizes happiness, due to its red color, and fidelity.
Abalone with Oyster Sauce - Abalone is one of the most decadent Chinese delicacies. It has the texture of a cross between a mushroom and an oyster, and symbolizes “definite good fortune”.
Fat Choy - Yes, this stuff looks like hair. As bizarre as this dish might look, it is strongly believed that eating this sea moss will bring you wealth and prosperity.
Longevity Buns - Shaped to look like a peach, these buns are a prized Chinese dessert filled with creamy lotus or red bean paste. These buns symbolize longevity and good health.