Congratulations and be prosperous! This is the meaning of Kung Hei Fat Choi, which is being wished to everyone and everywhere in the days around the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.
Apart from the flower markets, the special trees and the red packets, there are also other things that are very important for Chinese people:
- Clean your house before Chinese New Year and go to the hairdresser, to start the New Year fresh and clean – and because of this, a lot of Chinese people don’t wash their hair on the first day of Chinese New Year, because the superstition is that the luck will wash away (but you are allowed to wash your body)
- Dress in red and gold colours during Chinese New Year, this brings you good luck and prosperity – ideally dress in something new, that you’ve just bought for Chinese New Year
- Eat a Chinese New Year Dinner with your family on the eve of the New Year – for good luck, eat some fish, or at least purchase some fish so you can look at it
- Chinese New Year has 15 days to celebrate – but often only the first three or four are holidays (depending on the country you live in – in Hong Kong it’s New Year plus two days)
- The first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Lunar New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises -> every year a big parade is being organised in Hong Kong on this day, so hopefully we’ll be able to see some lion dances on Thursday evening!
- On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to all dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs. This is also the day the fireworks are planned in Hong Kong – again, let’s hope I’ll get to see them on Friday
- On the following days, there are specific foods to be consumed, also ancestors to be visited and prayers to be said – the Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival on day 15, again I am very much looking forward to seeing this in Hong Kong this year
- Lanterns can be seen throughout the Chinese New Year – they are a key part of the decorations to celebrate this festival. These lanterns differ from those of Mid Autumn Festival in general. They will be red in colour and tend to be oval in shape. These are the traditional Chinese paper lanterns. Those lanterns, used on the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year for the Lantern Festival, are bright, colourful, and in many different sizes and shapes
- Dragon and lion dances are common during Chinese New Year. It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the dragon or lion dancing aggressively can evict bad or evil spirits