Saturday, 13 February 2010

Do’s & Don'ts on Chinese New Year...

Yipee!! I'm half hour away from 2010 Chinese New Year!

I stumbled across this list of do's and don'ts on Chinese New Year (aka CNY) yesterday which I'm going to share with you guys... and also note down my own thoughts and opinions (aka MOTO) and my own version of superstitions "Believe It Or Not" (aka BION) verdict whether it is superstitious or not. Feel free to share your point of view on this.

First list from this website:

- Greet others with "Gung Hey Fat Choy" which means "Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth".
(MOTO: OK, I don't think this is superstitious.. This is just being polite and jovial, by spreading the joy and cheers of the Chinese New Year celebration. Kinda like wishing Happy Birthday to the people who is celebrating their birthdays.
BION Verdict: Not superstitious)

- Give two lee see’s to each child. Because happiness comes in two’s, do not just give one. This is your way of passing good luck to the next generation. Business owners also give lee see’s to employees and associates.
(MOTO: FYI, lee see is also known as red packets or red envelopes. Personally, here in Malaysia, the only time I know that married people give DOUBLE red packets is during the 1st year of their marriage. Kinda like spreading the happiness of their marriage I guess. When I got married, hubby and I too had to give double red packets to our friends who are still single and to the children. As for business owners giving red packets to their staff and associates, yes, but this too only applies for the unmarried staff.
BION Verdict: Definitely superstitious for the two lee see's belief. Whoever came up with this must have had tons of children and profit a lot from these red packets... :P)

- Wear brand new clothes - preferably in red. Children should wear new clothes and new shoes.
(MOTO: This is more like to celebrate the new year with new stuff, fresh look kinda thing. Personally, I've been recycling my working clothes to casual clothes to be my Chinese New Year clothes. I mean, whoever who comes up with this belief must also be profiting a lot from the sales of all this clothes and shoes...
My BION Verdict: Superstitious)

- Don’t wash your hair.
(MOTO: What the heck? I didn't even know there's such a thing! Why am I not supposed to wash my hair?! So that I can bring over my smelly hair from the previous year over to the new Chinese Year??!! Yikess!!
My BION Verdict: Superstitious and definitely gross...)

- Don’t sweep the floor.
(MOTO: I kinda have this thinking that we're not supposed to sweep the floor during CNY cos I mean, who wants to do house work when everyone is in holiday mood? Who wants to be sweeping the floor when your friends and relatives are coming by to pay a visit? And I also have this thinking that maybe we should leave the dirt and mess around the house by not sweeping the floor during CNY so that our visitors can see how many people came over to visit and how popular you were that there are so many people who came over to celebrate CNY at your house...
BION Verdict: Superstitious to the point that it's an excuse to be lazy...)

- Don’t greet people who are in mourning.
(MOTO: Err? Why not?
BION Verdict: Depends... I think we can still greet people who are in mourning a happy CNY, but of course no one is asking you to be screaming with joy, lighting up firecrackers in front of them and all. Just a modest and humble happy CNY greeting is fair and polite enough, don't you think?)

- Don’t drop your chopsticks.
(MOTO: Agree 100%!!! Don't drop your chopsticks because the floor is dirty! And the floor is dirty because we are not supposed to sweep it during CNY as mentioned above.
My BION Verdict: Not superstitious? Yeah, right... This is Crap with a capital C...)

- Don’t say the number ‘four’ (Chinese homonym for death) or mention death.
(MOTO: Crap again... then how do I go about mentioning the number 4 in Chinese? 3 plus 1? 5 minus 1? 2 times 2?
BION Verdict: Superstitious and painful to my brain cells to be thinking of alternatives word to say 4 in Chinese)

- Don’t borrow or lend money.
(MOTO: Don't lend money cos you need to spend it all on the new clothes and new shoes. I think people believe they should not borrow money during CNY as its kinda like embarrassing that you need to borrow money to celebrate the New Year...
BION Verdict: Superstitious)

Here's some other taboos from this website:

- Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. After New Year's Day, the floors may be swept. Beginning at the door, the dust and rubbish are swept to the middle of the parlor, then placed in the corners and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day. At no time should the rubbish in the corners be trampled upon. In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold, you will sweep one of the family away. Also, to sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door.
(MOTO: This is crap. Don't sweep for fear that good fortunes may be swept away? So, maybe we should all just collect all the dirts and dusts and be rich forever and ever... You will sweep one of the family away if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold? Wow.. in other words, they are trying to say that family = thrash.
My BION Verdict:Totally superstitious)

- Shooting off firecrackers on New Year's Eve is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the New Year. On the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, every door in the house, and even windows, have to be open to allow the old year to go out.
(MOTO: Oh crap... Malaysia has banned shooting off firecrackers. So let's see, firecrackers banned so the only way to let out the old year is to open up every doors and windows of the house... but then by doing so, all the pesky mosquitoes and bugs will fly in.. Great!
BION Verdict: Bull crap...)

- New Year Activities Set Precedent. All debts had to paid by this time. Nothing should be lend on this day, as anyone who does so will be lending all the year. Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words. Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo. References to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning. If you cry on New Year's day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they are mischievous.
(MOTO: Oh really? No crying on New Year's day? I have to get ready to spank Ben just in case he really cries then... But what?! No spanking??!! (Not that I do anyway) But tolerating children and not spanking them even though they are mischievous? Then that would mean they will be mischevious all through the year right? Right?!
BION Verdict: Superstitious crap..)

Please feel free to educate me if you have any friends who disagree on the items above that I specifically mentioned superstitious and please get them to explain why they think otherwise.


Anonymous said...

Do you realize that you gave us some really interesting intercultural knowledge and 'experience'?? :) thank you very much for that and a happy new year to you aka gung hey fat choy :)

Jessica said...

LOL, I am going to start greeting people with "Gung Hey Fat Choy" from now on.
They''ll probably spank me, but hopefully not on New Years.

And I'm all for not sweeping either!

Loved this blog!

I'm a full-time mummy said...

Hey Vivienne!
You are welcome and Gong Hei Fatt Choy to you & family as well!

Hi Jessica!
They can't spank you, else they will have to spank you through the year ;p Glad you enjoyed the post! :)


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