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Redpacket.com/Singapore/These are some of the dos and don’ts during Chinese or Lunar New Year, passed down from grandmothers to mothers and then daughters. Some superstitions are centuries old, while some originated in this modern era.

Spring Cleaning : Spring-cleaning from the top to the bottom of the house is straightly to be done before Lunar New Year’s Day. This is to sweep away all traces of ill fortune. In fact, right after reunion dinner on the New Year’s Eve, brooms, dustpans and dusters of any sort are to be placed out of sight. Good fortune instead, will be swept away if any sweeping is done on the first New Year day. 

After the first day, cleaning is allowed. However, sweeping the dust out of the house symbolizes dusting away wealth and good fortune, and sweeping the dirt out symbolizes losing a family member. Therefore, cleaning is done inwards instead, symbolizing that no wealth or family member will be lost. Filth collected is to be carefully placed in a corner - symbolizing accumulation of wealth and family harmony - and not to be thrown out until the fifth day.

Debts and Credit : All debts are to be settled before Lunar New Year. It is not a good sign to be in debt on the New Year, as it symbolizes one will be in debt for the rest of the year. Likewise, one should not lend on this day, symbolizing one would keep on lending for the rest of the year and as a result, emptied pockets.

Language : The first sight and sound one encounters on the first day of Lunar New Year are auspicious indications as to the fortunes of the entire year. Therefore, foul language, unpleasant topics and unlucky words are to be refrained. The Chinese character four is to be avoided because it is a homonym for another Chinese character meaning ‘death’.

Hair : The Chinese character fa means ‘hair’, and sounds like another character meaning ‘to strike it rich’. Hence, washing hair on the first day of the Lunar month is to be avoided for fear of washing away the possibility of striking rich.

Clothes : The predominant colour for Lunar New Year is red. It is believed that red brings good fortune, happiness and fight off all evils. Red attire represents a new beginning.

Broken Things :If bowls, glasses or any porcelain are broken into pieces, one is supposed to quickly utter loudly sui sui ping an. These Chinese characters mean ‘health, peace and safety every year, as one gets older’. Sui is a homonym for another word meaning ‘broken pieces’. So, the unlucky act of breaking something is turned into a well-wishing ceremony.

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