If you’re not yet feeling those "New Year, new you" vibes buzzing through you like a Fruit Tingle, have no fear, the Year of the Monkey is here!
Chinese New Year has swung around again and we can’t wait to enjoy dazzling fireworks, savour delicious food, and chase around some dancing dragons. But wait, there’s more! To ensure you have the best year possible, the festival has a few sensible, surprising and just sensational traditions that anyone can take part in.
One of them involves shopping for new clothes… yeah we thought that would get your attention. Here are our top ten favourite Chinese New Year traditions.
1. Find your inner monkey and have an adventure
2016 is not only the year of the Monkey, no, no, no. It’s the year of the FIRE Monkey, so you know you’re in for some fun! According to Chinese astrology, those born in the year of the Monkey are ambitious and adventurous but also irritable, so yeah, go ahead and buy that expensive outfit but we’re keeping our distance if you spill something on it. And if you’re going to do some gambling, the ancient Chinese bookies say your best bet is February and December, ya cheeky monkeys.
2. Monsters, and banners and fireworks, oh my!
Although we love how vibrant and entertaining they are, those red decorative banners and crazy fireworks aren’t just for fun kids, but the perfect way to scare off evil spirits, demons and Nian, the New Year monster. So what do you get when you fight monsters with red, the colour for joy, and loud noises? A crazy, insanely joyful party!
3. New Year, NEW CLOTHES!
It’s believed that damaged or old clothes can cause more bad luck for the year, sooooo get in loser, we’re going shopping! Get into the New Year spirit and treat yourself to a fresh haircut and some red clothes, or some blue and gold for the Monkey! Just stay away from monochrome for the festivities since Chinese culture associates black and white with mourning.
4. A clean house equals good fortune
Since Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival, it’s only right to do a bit of spring cleaning! Maybe this doesn’t sound that appetising, but cleaning one’s house before the New Year signifies removing the old and welcoming the new, as well as ridding your home of bad feelings and bringing good luck. It also means…
5. No household chores on New Year’s Day!
No, we’re not making up a bunch of fake traditions so that we can treat ourselves to a day off while admiring our beautiful new clothes. The Chinese believe sweeping one’s house leads to sweeping one’s wealth away, so lock that broom up Cinderella! Laundry is also banned, as well as washing one’s hair, since the Chinese word for "hair" is a homonym for "becoming wealthy". So if someone’s eyeing up your greasy locks, make it clear you’re not about to wash your wealth away for their approval. Duh.
6. Show me the moneeeeey
We all know and love the Chinese New Year tradition of giving others red envelopes containing ‘lucky’ money. Most often it’s children and seniors who receive those beautiful parcels, but unmarried adults can often be the lucky recipients as well. Who needs a husband when you’ve got a cheeky fiver wrapped up in an adorable red envelope? NO ONE.
7. Food, glorious foooooood
Starting the New Year off with a fancy brekky? That sounds good to us. It’s considered in Chinese culture unlucky to eat porridge for breakfast on New Year’s Day, as porridge is considered a ‘poor’ person’s meal. Do we feel taken aback on behalf of porridge? Yes. Are we going to eat it out of solidarity? Hmmmm…we just really wanted to have a good year is the thing. Other foods to feast upon are dumplings (as they resemble gold ingots), fish and sticky fruitcake, or nian gao.
8. Time to binge on Netflix
According to Chinese tradition, if a married daughter visits her parents or a woman leaves her house on New Year’s Day, she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year. Now, we could think about the ethical and practical issues associated with this, or we could settle in and catch up on Fargo, Making a Murderer and Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Tricky, very tricky.
9. Inhale positivity, exhale anxiety
It’s all about keeping it positive for 2016, with well wishes and small gifts forming a huge part of Chinese New Year tradition. So make sure to smile and wish others well this New Year, and maybe even give your friends some fruit, cakes, biscuits, chocolates and lollies? But rest assured…
10. You don’t have to buy your friend any pears…
Yep. Evidently, certain gifts such as pears are completely banned during the festivities as their meanings in the Chinese language have similar sounds to negative words such as "funeral ritual", "cuckold", "goodbye", "separate", "closing" or "fall". So if you’re strolling along through Coles and eyeing off some plump pears to drop by your mum’s place, you are truly a monster.
Like this? There's loads more where that came from!