The Year of the Dragon is less than one week away! In years past, my preparations have included decorating the house, shopping for new outfits for my kids, and planning a feast for family and friends.
(The Chinese character for “fortune” is hung upside-down as a play on words. Fu daole, "fortune upside-down," is a homonym for fu daole, "fortune arrives.")
This year, I decided to research traditional preparations for the Lunar New Year. I was curious to know what other people did to prepare, and how they celebrated this all-important Chinese holiday.
FamilyCulture.com lists the following things to do before New Year’s Eve:
Clean the whole house.
Put away brooms and brushes.
Pay all your debts.
Resolve differences with family members, friends, neighbors, and business associates.
Cleaning the entire house, though an ambitious goal, is a good idea—especially after the long month of December, and I can certainly put away my broom (or vacuum) afterward. But paying all of my debts? I love this idea, in principle, but it's really not a possibility for us in the near future (school loans, mortgage...you know what I'm talking about). Now I find this last preparation interesting: Resolve differences...It's certainly seems like a good thing to do at least once a year, if not throughout the year. I wonder how many people actually follow this tradition and how “resolving differences” takes place in China--an apology? a gift? a meal shared together?
FamilyCulture.com also suggests buying red envelopes (hong bao), oranges, candy, flowers, (red or orange) new clothing for children, and getting crisp new dollar bills from the bank to put in the hongbao. These material preparations are no doubt the easiest to incorporate into our family holiday “routine,” but I think that Cheng family will also have a "pre-New Years" house-cleaning party this year. And personally, I'm going to try to resolve any differences that may arise before the New Year.
How are you preparing for Chinese New Year?