Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Welcome to the year of the Rat

The Rat (Chinese: 鼠) was welcomed in ancient times as a protector and bringer of material prosperity. Rat is associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities.

(Well now, that is a mixed bag!)

To bring you good luck
• Opening windows and doors to bring in the good luck of the New Year.
(Fresh Air Good!)
• Switching on the lights for the night to 'scare away' ghosts and spirits of misfortune.
(What Would Al Gore Say to that!)
• Sweets are eaten to ensure the consumer a "sweet" year.
(Finally, a reason for Chocolate!)
• It is important to have the house clean for good luck in the coming year.
(Got lucky here, I had guests arriving!)
• Some believe that what happens on the first day of the New Year reflects the rest of the year to come. Gambling is thought of as a way to hopefully get luck and prosperity.
(So, what happens if you loose? Not a great reason for a visit to a casino!)
• Wearing a new pair of slippers that is purchased before the New Year, it is meant to step on the people who gossip about you.
(My roomy Bria is using her Uggs for this one, not so new, but seemingly effective.)
• The night before the New Year, bathe yourself in pomelo leaves, so that you will be healthy for the rest of the New Year.
(If I had only known, maybe a Grapefruit will suffice!)

This brings on the bad luck
• Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck.
• Buying a pair of pants is considered bad luck.
(Just stay away from the mall today.)
• Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one's own luck
(I’ll risk this one)
• Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the New Year.
(Bummer, the popcorn from last night’s movie is on the floor. Can I vacuum?)
• Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year.
(Ok, no problem here!)
• Buying books is bad luck because the word for "book" is a homonym to the word "lose".
(Not good for a Kate today at the Manning House, but if we have given up on the shoes and pants, does that even it out?)
• Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional funeral color.
(Every New Yorker is screwed on this one!)

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