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Getting prepared for Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is considered as the most important time of the year in Chinese culture.

This series of #CNYEdit is specially prepared - follow through, learn the Chinese way and get yourself CNY ready! Let’s get started with preparations!

1. Clean it Up!

The Lunar New Year Clean-up traditionally takes place THREE DAYS before Chinese New Year's Eve. On this day, the whole family devotes themselves to a thorough cleaning for the house. We may wipe down the cabinets, organise the wardrobes, do laundry and throw things away etc.

Sweeping Dust =Sweeping away Staleness

In Chinese, "dust" (塵 chén) has the same pronunciation as "staleness" (陳 chén). Therefore, to sweep dust (掃塵 sǎochén) also means to sweep away staleness (掃陳 sǎochén) in the house. Cleaning not only makes the home tidy, it also has the purpose of sweeping away misfortune and getting the family ready to welcome the coming year with a total new look.

2. Spruce it Up!

After the cleaning, Chinese households decorate their homes by putting up festive items and "Fai Chun".

"Fai Chun" is either in rectangular or square shape. They are written or printed with auspicious phrases of good wishes and prosperity. They are usually put on walls, in the doorways and obvious spots around the house in order to prepare a festive atmosphere for the family.

3. All things NEW

Here comes the best chance to go SHOPPING!

It's customary for Chinese to put on new clothes and even get haircuts done before New Year arrives.

This is, again, to "send away the olds" and get ready to show up all fresh and new on the

First Day of Chinese New Year!

NOTE: We can ONLY buy shoes BEFORE CNY because of the sounds of shoes:

  • in Cantonese (haai4) - similar to the sighing sound

  • in Mandarin (xié) - similar to "evil" (邪 xié)

and we definitely do not want these for the new year!

4. Red Packets

During Chinese New Year, married couples and seniors give out red packets to the unmarried, most of whom are children.

Red packets will need to be prepared in advance. Bank notes are usually used and coins are avoided. This is to make it difficult for one to guess the amount before opening.

It is also traditional to put brand new notes into the red packets.

Similar to gift opening, one NEVER opens the red packets in front of the relatives / the person upon receiving them. Keep them well and open after the fifteenth day of CNY.

Red packets may also be given by business owners and managerial staff from their own funds to employees as a token of good fortune for the upcoming year.

If you work in an international environment, this maybe good for you to know!

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YiLi International Etiquette (YiLi) is Hong Kong's first boutique finishing school offering Western & Chinese etiquette courses.


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