What do dragons, gods, family, money, fireworks, delicious food, the color red and celebrating all have in common? Chinese New Year of course! This week I had the pleasure of learning all about Chinese New Year from Weimin Dong and Vickie Li who work in the marketing department for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. After learning about this amazing holiday I quickly learned that like any other big holiday, home is right at the core of the celebration. Here are a few of things that I learned about that were especially interesting.
Home for the Holidays
The days leading up to Chinese New Year are extremely busy. Some families even begin preparing a month in advance! Most people working away from their hometown return to their hometown to celebrate the New Year, no matter how difficult travel may be. In 2013, roughly 800 million people in China will travel! I don’t know about you but I can’t remember the last time my entire family was in the same room all at once!
Sweeping Away Bad Luck
Homes are cleaned from top to bottom so all the bad luck of the previous year is swept away. Once the New Year begins dustpans and brooms are put away so the good luck of the New Year is not swept away. Being relieved of cleaning duty for 15 days is a nice treat and is an important part of observing this tradition.
Red for Luck
Red is the color or symbol of good luck in Chinese culture. Some homeowners even paint a fresh coat of red paint as they believe this will bring them luck in the New Year. Many hope to usher in extra good luck by decorating with chunlian, which are long, narrow red strips of paper or diamond-shaped paper printed with black or gold Chinese characters which are hung in the doorways of homes.
The Kitchen God
Santa Claus’ nice and naught list has nothing on what the Kitchen God knows. “The Kitchen God is assigned by Yu Huang, the emperor of heaven, to watch over each family and record what they do throughout the year. A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen. Each year during Chinese New Year, the Kitchen God returns to heaven to report on what the family has done throughout the year. The family has a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God’s mouth is full of glutinous rice, he will not be able speak about the family’s activities.” (Chinese.culture)
I truly enjoyed learning about this beautiful celebration of luck, love and respect. To all of our friends celebrating Chinese New Year Gung Hay Fat Choy!