Chinese New Year usually occurs on the second new Moon after the winter solstice, any time between January 21 to February 21 each year. Chinese New Year 2023 is Sunday, January 22. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2023 is the year of the rabbit.
The Chinese New Year, sometimes referred to as the Lunar New Year, is celebrated with a two-part 15-day festival. The Spring Festival lasts for 11 days and is followed by the Lantern Festival, which is for four days. (There is also a celebration that precedes the the festival called “Little Year,” during which the preparations for the new year begin. This is a span of eight days.)
In China, only the first seven days are considered a public holiday, though many keep up with the traditions for the duration of the Chinese New Year. And speaking of traditions, they also have several superstitions as well. Have you ever heard of these or even done them?
1. Housecleaning should be done before the Chinese New Year’s Day to sweep away bad luck from the previous year. No sweeping or dusting is allowed on New Year’s Day so that good fortune will not be swept away.
2. All doors and windows must be open at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve to allow the old year to escape. It also allows the good luck of the New Year to enter.
3. Setting off firecrackers on New Year’s Eve scares away evil spirits while sending out the old year and welcoming the new one
4. Precedents are set on New Year’s Day. Therefore, nothing should be loaned on this day, or else the lender will be loaning all year. Mischievous children are never spanked on this day to avoid tears destined to last the whole year through.
5. Do not use references to death or the past, use foul language and unlucky words, or the telling of ghost stories, which are taboo on this day.
6. Children are given red packets or envelopes containing even numbered amounts of money since odd-numbered amounts of money are traditionally given during funerals. (Odd and even numbers are determined by the first digit. For instance, “30” is an odd number.) The only exception to the rule is that $4 is never given, as the number four is bad luck — the Chinese word for “four” is a homophone for the word “death.” Eight dollars is commonly given, as the number 8 is considered good luck.
7. Hair washing is forbidden. Leave your hair as it is on the first day of the New Year. The Chinese character for hair is the same first character in the word for prosper. This means washing or cutting it off is seen as washing your fortune away and dramatically reduces your chances for prosperity and good fortune in the year.
8. Knives and scissors may not be used because they may cut off fortune.
9. Celebrants wear red to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune and ensure a bright future. Black and white should not be worn as black symbolizes bad luck, and white is a Chinese funeral color. People dress in all new clothes and shoes to symbolize a new beginning for the New Year.