If you’re from the Southern U.S., eating black-eyed peas may be your family tradition to bring good luck in the new year. With the Chinese New Year coming up, let’s take a look at some of the Chinese traditions you can follow for health, happiness and fortune in the coming year.
New Year’s Eve and before
Sweep away the dust. Thoroughly clean the house, putting away or tossing old things to make way for the new. Never sweep out the front door or you risk sweeping away fortune or family. Always sweep from the entrance to the center of the room, collect the dust and carry it out the back.
Enjoy a meal with your family. Reuniting with relatives at the start of the year is the most important part of Chinese New Year. If a family member can't make the dinner an empty chair symbolizes their presence. The menu might include:
- Whole fish. Because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for abundance. You should leave the head and tail on to be sure you get a good start and end to the year as well.
- Dumplings and spring rolls. Both are said to look like gold ingots. The more you eat, the more wealth you’ll earn in the new year.
- Noodles. The traditional longevity noodle is a continuous looping strand, but any long noodle will help you live a long life.
- Oranges, tangerines and pomelos. The Chinese names for oranges and tangerines sound like the words for success and luck, while the word for Pomelo implies continuous prosperity.
Open the windows and doors at midnight. Let the old year blow out of the house just as the new year blows in. Firecrackers and fireworks usher out the old and welcome the new.
New Year’s Day
Share the wealth in red envelopes. The color red is said to bring good fortune and ward off evil spirits making the money placed inside lucky. Married adults traditionally give envelopes to family, friends and employees in the first days of the New Year.
Skip the laundry and don't wash your hair for the first few days of the New Year to avoid washing all of your good fortune down the drain. That goes for any house cleaning too. Good thing you already did it before the new year!
Don’t use knives or scissors on New Year’s Day to avoid cutting off your fortune and luck for the year.
Wear new clothes to begin the year with a fresh start and give new hopes the best chance. Red clothes, similar to the red envelopes, attract good luck and repel bad spirits.
Whatever traditions you follow, we wish you good luck and good fortune in 2021! If you’d like to know more about what to expect in the Year of the Metal Ox, check out Wendy Goldman’s predictions.