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Monday, February 8, 2010

Sweeping out the Bad Luck

It's a little less then one week before Chinese New Year which falls on the same day as Valentine's Day February 14. The house is going though a whirlwind of cleaning. This is a tradition dating back way way way back when. The cleaning before New Year's symbolizes "sweeping out" last year's bad luck and starting anew with this year. People get their haircuts before the New Year to also symbolize the start of a new year. It's during this time all the salons and beauty parlors are all full of families from the grannies to the little kids waiting to get their haircuts.
No home is ready for Chinese New Year until it has the lucky red and gold decor like the ones above. They're full of symbols and characters for good luck, wealth, longevity, health etc. The most common places to put these are in front of doors, on doorways to guard the home. Now gold lettering and color is lucky for obvious reasons as it's the color of gold but why red?

Apparently in an old tale every year a dragon would come and gobble up livestock and lil kids and terrorize villages. To appease the dragon they would leave food outside their doors until one day they noticed that the dragon was scared off by a little girl in red. The villagers realized the dragon was afraid of the color red and since then decorated their houses with red to scare off the dragon. The dragon is sometimes associated with bad luck of yesteryear. Another rendition is that instead of the color red the loud noises of firecrackers had scared the dragon off and therefore every Chinese New Year firecrackers are lit.

For an easy tutorial on making your own Chinese New Year Decoration you can check out my DIY.

Until next time... sweep out the bad luck and bring in the good! =)


Pili said...

I love learning new things that I didn't know!

Thank you for such an informative post! I love learning about different traditions!

Rosebud Collection said...

I like the idea of sweeping out the bad luck..Wonderful traditions and so enjoyable reading about them.

Littleclouds said...

ahh makes so much sense now because the launderettes are all crazy busy.