Tomorrow marks Chinese New Year Eve and I feel like I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (No pun intended considering today 20,000 chickens got their heads cut off…)
With only one day left to make preparations, I’ve been frantically trying to clean the house, as this is the last day to do so. Literally.
For Chinese New Year families thoroughly clean their homes and put away the brooms come New Year’s Eve. They believe that if you do any cleaning the first few days, you’ll be sweeping away any good luck (also don’t cut your hair, use scissors or use knives as you’ll also cut off your luck this way). To go along with this, our apartment just notified us that they will be suspending trash removal starting tomorrow. Not the news you want to hear when you have multiple bags of trash tied and waiting to be thrown away in your entryway!
So as I run around trying to fit cleaning into my jam-packed schedule, I also realize that tonight is our family reunion dinner. Great! Except that it means having even more work to do.
During reunion dinners, the younger family members often line up to receive their lucky red envelopes. One popular custom is for each person to take a turn trying to recite as many Chinese New Year sayings as possible. Let me assure you, this is no easy task. There are probably hundreds of different ones to choose from, and further memorizing them is quite daunting– especially for someone who isn’t fluent in Cantonese!
These sayings aren’t greetings, but rather blessings or well wishes. You’ll notice a lot of them focus on prosperity, longevity, and happiness, and are featured on fai chun decorations and red envelopes.
So while I continue frantically cleaning and memorizing these Chinese phrases, you can enjoy reading the most common Chinese New Year phrases: