Gong Xi Fa Cai!.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! February 16th marks the start of the Lunar New Year.

According to Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor, ruler of all gods, hosted a great race where the gods had to cross a river in order to become one of the 12 animals in the calendar. While the Dog was an adept swimmer, he only finished 11th in the race. The story goes that the dog had not bathed for some time, so once he got into the river, he over-indulged in the water and frolicked without a care. 2018 is the year of the Dog.

This holiday is one of the world’s most colourful and exuberant events that triggers celebrations all across the globe. This is how you prepare your home for this Lunar New Year.

  1. Clean the house

Say farewell to the old year by sweeping away the dust and discarding things you don’t need anymore. Change all your sheets and towels, making sure every nook and cranny of your home has gone through a thorough spring cleaning. This is especially important because you wouldn’t want to clean for at least the first three days of the new year, as such actions are believed to “sweep” away the good luck. After all, this holiday is all about luck! 

  1. Purchase flowers

Purchasing flowers for the New Year symbolizes blooming fortune. All colours and species have symbolic meanings, so don’t blindly purchase any flower! For example, avoid white flowers, as they are usually reserved for funerals – particularly chrysanthemums. Orchids make a great choice, but know that they represent fertility and abundance. Some lucky plants include:

  • Tangerine trees: Tangerines are believed to roll gold and good news into the house. Prosperous because they’re orange coloured and sound like “luck” in Cantonese.
  • Pussy willow: Popular for its yellow and white colours, a representation of gold and silver (fortune).
  • Branches of cherry blossoms: Pink flowers are believed to help one find love.
  • Narcissus: The gold-coloured flower represents fortune and money.

  1. New Year Paintings

New year couplets are paired phrases, expressing blessings written on red paper in calligraphy. Hang these couplets on each side of your doors as “door gods” to symbolize health and fortune. Another sign that many households usually have on the centre of their door is a red sign with the character 福, which means luck or blessing, hung upside down to help luck arrive (as ‘upside down’ sounds like ‘arrival’ in Chinese.) These “door gods” are thought to scowl or hold weapons to drive evil away. 

We’ve included some common blessings below:

  • 恭喜發財, gung hei fat choy, which means “wish you more wealth”
  • 身體健康, san tai gin hong, which means “wish you good health”
  • 學業進步, hok jip zeon bou, which means “make improvements on your study”
  • 萬事如意, maan si jyu ji, which means “everything goes well as you wish”
  • 大吉大利, dai gat dai lei, which means “great luck and fortune”