02 Feb Chinese New Year of the Monkey
The Chinese New Year begins on the second new moon after winter solstice—this year that date is February 8. If you celebrated the western New Year, this could be a time for you to recommit to or revise your resolutions for 2016.
The Chinese put as much effort into the preparation of the New Year as they do to the actual celebration. You might find some of these helpful in your own New Year rituals.
- On days preceding the New Year, Chinese families give their homes a thorough cleaning. It is believed cleaning sweeps away any remaining bad luck from the year before and makes their home ready for good luck. The brooms and dust bins are put out of sight on New Year’s Day so that the newly arrived luck isn’t accidentally swept away.
- Painters do a booming business right before New Year, painting doors and window-frames with a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with a set of couplets written on long strips of red paper (one on each side of the door) upon which have been calligraphy-ed a poem or a good luck saying.
- Purchasing new clothing and shoes is encouraged to symbolize new beginnings.
- Any haircuts are done before the New Year. The Chinese word for hair (fa) is also the word for prosperity so no one wants to cut short their prosperity.
- Businesses try to pay off all outstanding debts, and they send gifts to close business associates and family members.
On New Year’s Day there is often a lion dance to symbolize protection. In addition, people give out red envelopes to spread further good wishes for the New Year, which contains a coin for wealth, a piece of candy for life’s sweetness, and a wish for continued good luck and success.
However you may decide to bring in the New Year of the Monkey, make it a special and intentional celebration.
Xin Nian Kuai Le – Happy New Year