Chinese New Year is really just around the corner. The Chinese will definitely be busy running errands to make sure that the Chinese New Year celebration is well prepared. Some may choose to start as early as a month before the celebration which also means the last month in the Lunar Calendar. This way, they get to plan things they need to have for the celebration and slowly distributing the tasks among the family members and then carry them out.
Since Chinese New Year is the most important celebration among the Chinese, the celebration is always a grand one where family members gather around the house to eat, chat and play. Noises are definitely one thing that will not be missed during the celebration. If you are thinking Chinese New Year is only a day or two celebration or only over the weekend, then you are very wrong.
The Chinese celebrate Chinese New Year for a full 15 days and 16 days if Chinese New Year Eve is counted. But it makes no different because the mood can be felt when shops started selling Chinese New Year goods, restaurant started promoting their Chinese New Year menu, the shopping malls started to have Chinese New Year performance. It is the festive season love by everyone.
Lets get rolling on with the preparation needed for Chinese New Year. First in the list is the spring cleaning. Since Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival, spring cleaning is normally used to indicate that the whole house must be thoroughly clean to usher in the brand new year. Every corner of the house will be clean and dust free. Old good that are not of use anymore will be thrown away or given out as second hand items. Take is as the yearly charity event for your family.
When cleaning is done, decorate the house with the Chinese New Year decoration, the auspicious home decoration in order to bring your family a prosperous and well being year. The decorations can include paper cut outs, cut outs from red packet, red lanterns, prosperous orange tree, Spring Festival couplets and many more. The orange tree known as 'kum quat' in Cantonese is a favorite among many home decorations. They are usually place in front of the house. 'Kum' sounds similar to gold thus the use of it. It sounds like you are bearing 'gold' when you grow this tree.
The decorations used are mainly symbolic with prosperous and luck where red colors are everywhere in the house. New curtains are usually used as well to refresh your home a little. The reason to have all these decorations is mainly to wish for a better year ahead for everyone in the family and to be blessed. When you are done with all the decorations, the mood for Chinese New Year gets thicker and slowly, you will hear people playing the Chinese New Year songs from the house.
Not only has the home needed to be new. You yourself need a little change as well. The Chinese will normally shop for a few pairs of new clothes and shoes and bags and even accessories to go with it! Checked shopping and now you are on your way for a new hairdo. Everyone needs to look new and fresh to welcome in the New Year. Children will definitely love it as they get to shop for firecrackers as well.
Then comes the busy preparation for a feast. Some bake for the purpose of selling, some bake for the purpose of giving a gift to family and friends. Either way, they still bake. Cookies are always a popular snack in the Chinese New Year besides candies, nuts and crackers. Then, they stock in some important food ingredients to make sure they have a complete kitchen during the Chinese New Year. Stacks of mandarin oranges and beverages are the must have in every household. They need to be prepared to give the gift in return to their guests.
Then, the Chinese will also be preparing the food list to have during the Chinese New Year Eve reunion dinner. It is the time where all the family members really gather together to dine. It does sound similar to the Western Thanksgiving dinner. Dishes that symbolize prosperity will be prepared and it will all be fun if you manage to get everyone together to help.
Last but not least, prepare the red packets. It has been a tradition in Chinese New Year to give out red packets. The amount of money inserted is not important but the meaning of the act is very important. Red packet is known as 'lai see' in Cantonese and it means lucky money. Usually the adults will prepare the red packets and give it out to the children throughout the Chinese New Year as a blessing.
That is about all the preparation that needed to be done before ushering the first day of the Lunar Calendar. Though it sounds simple, there is actually a lot to be done.