Today we celebrate Chinese New Year – heralding the year of the Monkey.
Did you know that you must not wash your hair on the first day of the lunar year?
In Chinese the character for Hair (发) is the same as fa in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. Washing one’s hair is therefore thought of as “wash one’s fortune away” – that’s not how anybody wants to start the new year. Families and friends will be sharing special food and time together; a whole list of centuries-old superstitions and beliefs will be observed to hopefully make the new year the most prosperous yet.
Chinese New Year is huge.
With people scattered around the globe observing the Lunar New Year, you’ll find major celebrations with fireworks, parades, and festivities in nearly every major city. When living in China, back then waiting at midnight for the fireworks to announce the chinese new year…we were so silly,no firecracker was to been seen.
New Year is the most important family holiday in China and one of the best known and well-observed customs is giving little red envelopes with money to children, older (non-working) relatives and employees. Called “lai see” (Cantonese) or “hongbao” (Mandarin), these gifts can range from £5 to £200, with employees receiving anywhere between £5 and £150.
Why Wear Red?
One would think that your year would be a good one. But on the contrary, Chinese traditional belief is that your benming nian is going to be full of bad luck. So if it’s your year, you need to take a few precautions to ensure that your year is not a bad one.
To ward off any dangers that might befall you in your benming nian, it is traditionally believed that it helps to wear – even underwear – the color red. Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese traditions, standing for loyalty, success and happiness. You’ll see red all over the place during traditional Chinese festivals and particularly Chinese New Year: red lanterns, red envelopes, red paper hangings.
When it comes to decorations, just about everything is red and ornamented in gold.
So wishing you all:Xīnnián kuàilè! (新年快乐) -Xin Nian Kuai Le!
Xie Xie, Henriette