The year of the goat is almost upon us (Thursday, February 19th), and we’ve put together a list of the biggest do’s and don’ts in order to have the most prosperous, lucky, healthy, high achieving, happy (and anything else that people wish you during Chinese New Year) year of the goat.
Although keeping your teeth in tip top condition is always recommended, we’re talking about doing a deep cleaning throughout your house. Sweeping and wiping away the dust of the year past is a way to say farewell to the old and welcome all of the good fortune that is coming your way during the new year. Don’t worry. It’s also frowned upon to clean during the first three days of the new year so even though this sounds tiring, you’ll be able to rest soon enough.
Put up decorations
After getting your house through a rigorous cleaning, put up red decorations around the house. Because red is the color of good luck in the Chinese culture, most everything you see regarding Chinese New Year will be red. These decorations usually come in the form of couplets (a pair of lines of poetry, usually hung vertically on the sides of a door frame), paper cut-outs, and lanterns. A very common decoration is a paper cutout of the 福 character (meaning good fortune) displayed in a window. Ever notice that this decoration is usually put up upside down? That’s because the Chinese character for upside down 倒 sounds like the character for arrive 到 so therefore if you put the 福 character upside down, it means that good fortune is arriving.
Buy new clothes
In order to set the proper tone for the year of the goat, it is necessary to buy a new set of clothes (all the way down to your underwear) and wear it on new years day. This is to symbolize having excess wealth to buy new things in the coming year and having a fresh start. It is also said that the new clothes should not be white or black since these colors are often associated with death. An excuse to shop? Don’t mind if we do.
Eat, eat, and more eating
There is a lot of eating to be done this period and it all starts on new years eve when the whole family gets together for a reunion dinner. Bringing the family together for this occasion symbolizes unity in the family for the coming year. So what exactly should you be eating during the Chinese New Year period? Check out the list below:
Dumplings – The shape of dumplings resembles ancient Chinese gold and silver ingots so these are eaten for wealth.
Fish – The character for fish 魚 sounds similar to the character for abundance 餘 so it is eaten to symbolize having excess fortune.
Sweets – Eating sweets and candy during new years is a way to ensure that the year of the goat will be extra sweet.
Tongyuan (glutinous rice balls in ginger soup) – The round shape of the glutinous rice balls in this dessert symbolize unity and harmony in the family.
Niangao (glutinous rice cake) – The characters for this tasty treat, 年糕, are similar to年高 literally means “year high”, which is used for wishing someone to reach higher limits year-on-year.
Black moss – The characters for this type of seaweed, 髮菜, sound like 發財, which means to become rich so people eat this for prosperity.
Dried oysters – The characters for dried oysters, 蠔豉, sound like, 好事, which means good happenings so make sure not to miss this delicious treat if you’re looking for a smooth year.
Wash or cut your hair
Washing your hair during the first three days of the new year or cutting your hair during the first 15 days symbolizes washing or cutting away all of the good fortune and good luck for the year!
As previously mentioned, it is discouraged to clean during the first three days of the new years because it will sweep away the good fortune and good luck.
For the first 15 days of the new years, don’t buy shoes because the character for shoe, 鞋, sounds like a sigh and you definitely don’t want to start the new year with sighs.
Give clocks or watches as a gift
Giving someone a clock or watch is similar to wishing them death. The characters for “giving clock” are 送鐘 sound like the characters for attending someone’s funeral. A definite no-no.
Although these are all superstitious steps to take, are you willing to risk having a miserable year? We sure aren’t.
Happy Chinese New Year from Sam the Local!