Is your home ready for the Year of the Ox?

Chinese New Year is a few days away and it is the best time to prepare to welcome the Year of the Metal Ox. Preparation involves cleaning our homes and putting up decorations, shopping and grooming, and preparing the family meal. Here are some tips to guide you through the preparations.

Cleaning and decorating 

It’s very important to get rid of objects that are no longer needed, used, or wanted. It’s like getting rid of negative energies and bad luck. 

It’s a good idea to fix what’s broken or throw away stuff that can’t be mended. Sweep and scrub all corners of the house, then organize the remaining items.

As far as decorations go, some families put up red lanterns, paper cuttings, and banners with lucky messages and/or characters.

To clean up also means to settle all outstanding debts, return borrowed items, and to try and mend broken relationships. The goal is to start the year with a clean slate for everything — relationships, mindsets, environment, and even concerning money matters.

Shopping and grooming

Businesses are usually closed on New Year’s Eve so everyone stocks up during the days leading up to Chinese New Year. People buy all the ingredients needed for the celebration meal or dinner, decorations, dumplings and fruits (no pears), plants and flowers (no white flowers), rice and flour, candies and cakes, red envelopes and gifts, incense and tea light candles, new clothes and calendars, and many more.

It is ideal to have a haircut or to go to the nail salon before the New Year celebration. Most people wear red to the celebrations (clothing or accessory) as it is considered a lucky color, and avoid wearing black or white.

New Year celebrations

Most families start cooking the day before the celebration. The red envelopes are stuffed and family members play games, share an abundant dinner, drink tea and chat while waiting for midnight. 

At midnight, windows and doors are opened to drive away the negative energies and to welcome good luck into the home. On New Year’s Day, no cooking or cleaning is allowed. Arguments are avoided in favor of positive actions like giving gifts, enjoyment of shared meals, sending warm greetings to friends and relatives, and so on. The first day sets the tone for the rest of the year.