TMI: Why I Love Prepping for Chinese New Year
Tuesday February 05 marks Chinese New Year, welcoming in the Year of the Pig. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. Over the past few years, as I’ve come to know a little more, it’s a tradition that I’ve started in my home and life.
Although I had heard about Chinese New Year in the past, it didn’t really sink in until Elaine Lui from Lainey Gossip started sharing her mother’s predictions on her wonderfully delicious gossip site. In the past few years, she has painstakingly broken down her mother’s forecast zodiac by zodiac and birth year within each zodiac. The “12 Days of Lunar New Year” is a treat and something I look forward to every year.
A few years ago, a reader wrote in asking if she thought non-Chinese people could join in the preparation and festivities. Lainey posted a general reply giving the go-ahead. I decided – after years of wanting to – to join in the wave.
Though I am not religious or spiritual per say, I do find Feng Shui compelling. I like the idea of luck being received or denied based on behaviours. Luck can be fickle and nothing is a given or certain. Say what? My millennial heart skipped a beat the first time I read that but I now understand I need to routinely check myself. One needs to work hard and think about the long term. Luck goes up certain years for certain animals in the zodiac and luck can be scarce other years. It’s about your life as a whole, not immediate validation.
Some bonuses I have learned about are fun things, really. Each are custom to your year and zodiac like colours and tokens and charms and seasons. Also, anything that gives me space between the end of the year festivities (that is Christmas and the calendar New Years) and January’s end to get my self sorted is a welcome - and do-able - timeline.
When Chinese New Year rolls around, you can prepare and welcome the new year so that if luck comes to your door, you’re ready to receive it. From what I’ve read, to receive luck, one must get their life in order. Think clean, tidy home where you have vacuumed, wiped, and dusted every nook and cranny as you need to remove the old to welcome in the new.
Later this week I will be working from top to bottom to clean my home. To me, it sounds a bit like spring cleaning but doing it in advance of the new Lunar Year. In addition to actual cleaning, I will be going through the closets and peeking behind all doors, drawers, and in cupboards to be sure I am creating space and creating a welcoming environment.
Also, it’s been said to consider where else your life may need tidying. Is your car clean? How about the garage? Is your office desk full of papers, to-do’s, and junk? Have you paid off your credit card or settled debt? What do your counters look like? Are they open or crammed with stuff? Also, have you actually dropped off the boxes of donation-ready items in your home or storage? What project has been nagging your mind that you could complete before the New Year? These are all questions to ask to get you going.
After preparing your home there are some New Years Eve – this year that’s February 04 – traditions I’ve read about. Washing the day – and year - off before is an essential way you can make room for the new year’s potential luck. So I will be washing my bed linens and wearing fresh pyjamas after I get out of a shower squeaky clean.
Come New Years day, this Tiger will be sure to celebrate and not wash, dust, or vacuum away any potential New Years luck away for a few days. Let that luck linger and hopefully soak in.
I expect that naysayers think it’s silly. Or maybe they think that I shouldn’t participate in cultural traditions that I am not directly a part of. I totally get that. I feel acutely aware that I am a participant only and this is not my immediate community. In an effort to do better, each year I endeavour to learn more and include more people from the actual community into my learnings.
In addition to opening my world to new-to-me cultures it’s also wonderful get-it-together motivator. I fill up when thinking about all the ways this will feel so good:
Purging my home top to bottom? Marie Kondo would be proud.
Getting my affairs in order? Adulting for the win.
Sparkling clean spaces? Love that.
Opening my mind and heart to a new year with new horizons? My future may be so bright that I may need sunglasses.
Celebrating a new year? Who doesn’t love a little party?
ps. If you’re curious about Chinese New Year fashion (duh, Sarah) here is a look at what is traditionally worn.