Traditions for Chinese New Year in Hong Kong 2024
This Lunar New Year, start fresh by honouring time-tested traditions. Let’s maximize our luck and prosperity as the Year of the Dragon dawns. From auspicious decorating to lucky foods, taboos to avoid and more, follow these traditions to bid winter farewell and welcome spring’s renewal. These meaningful practices brings the promise a fortunate journey ahead.
01. Common Greetings
The most common greeting — “kung hei fat choi”, wishing prosperity in the coming year. Return the greeting or say “sun tai kin hong” for good health. Impress by mixing in other blessings like:
- “Sun nin fai lok” – Happy New Year
- “Sum seung si sing” – May your wishes come true
- “Dai gut dai lei” – Good luck and a smooth year
02. Spring Cleaning
In hopes of inviting good fortune, traditional pre-CNY cleansing banishes dust and clutter, representing the old year. Since “dust” and “old” sound similar in Chinese, sweeping them away symbolises making way for the new. Complete thorough cleaning before CNY Eve, as tradition prohibits home cleaning the first lunar week to avoid sweeping away luck. Spring cleaning days start two days prior. When finished, stow cleaning tools – you wouldn’t want to inadvertently sweep away new year prosperity! By mindfully purging the old before the holiday, thoughtful preparation rituals ready both home and spirit for renewal.
03. Clear Your Debts
To avoid misfortune, tradition encourages resolving all debts before Lunar New Year. Any outstanding loans or unpaid dues symbolically transfer bad luck into the new year. Likewise, demanding owed money on CNY risks bad luck for both parties. Settle scores and clear obligations ahead of time so everyone can start fresh. Though asking to borrow money on CNY day is also frowned upon, the main focus is clearing the slate – financially and socially – to embrace the year ahead unburdened.
04. Dress in red
Red symbolises luck in Chinese culture, so it fills Lunar New Year with lai see envelopes, lanterns, and couples. Many don red on CNY day itself to summon extra fortune. Avoid black and white clothing, as those colours traditionally signify mourning – clashing with the celebration. Red welcomes joy and prosperity, enveloping CNY with its vibrant hue. Worn or displayed, it attracts good fortune when prominently incorporated. With meanings interwoven in traditions, red vividly conveys the optimism and cheer of this auspicious holiday.
05. Don’t wash or cut your hair
An auspicious linguistic link explains why many avoid washing or cutting hair early in the new year. Since “hair” shares the character for “fat (choi)” in the prosperity greeting “kung hei fat choi,” restraining from haircuts retains good fortune. Sharp objects like scissors raise similar concerns, with beliefs they invite quarrels and sever luck’s ties. So forego shearing overgrown locks, no matter how unruly. Embrace tradition’s promise of abundance by leaving hair uncut in the first days. And sheathe all edges that might trim fortune’s flow. Through symbolic acts, rituals nurture nascent hopes before the year unfolds.