Monday, January 19, 2009
Clean house. Good year. —Ancient chinese belief As the Lunar New Year begins, Asians all over the world follow a precise set of traditional actions to prepare for an auspicious New Year. The focus is on the home, beginning with the threshold, which is decorated with lucky symbols to welcome visitors. The interior is scrubbed to sparkling and filled with azaleas, cherry, and peach blossoms along with tangerines, pomelos, and oranges (with green leaves and stems still intact to predict friendship and allegiance). Tables overflow with traditional feast foods including the “harmony tray,” which contains eight different sweets to be shared with visitors. Along with a clean house, the Chinese believe their minds must also be clean. Only honeyed thoughts should come out of one’s mouth. Children are not reprimanded or scolded during the celebration period. Dirt, residue, misfortune, negative attitudes, unlucky words, and foul language are swept away before the New Year begins. I begin this New Year refreshed and welcome sweetness and good fortune into my life.