According to the Chinese calendar, February 15 marks the beginning of the Year of the Yellow Earth Dog, while the longtime traditions surrounding this festivity are quite fascinating. The belief goes that if we follow them properly, we'll be guaranteed luck and happiness for the rest of the year.
The assortment of customs has been passed down for generations on end, remaining unchanged throughout the centuries.
Traditions will be observed by Buddhists in various parts of the world for prosperity and good luck.
Find out what you need to do, according to Chinese traditions, in order to enjoy a prosperous 2018.
1. The Day of Great Cleaning
As with any big holiday, the day before Chinese New Year begins with great preparation, which includes a thorough cleaning of the house. Besides dusting, this includes throwing out all old/unneeded possessions. In this way, the Chinese say goodbye to the old year and make room for the new one.
2. The Day of the Traditional Dinner
On the actual New Year's Day, it's important for the Chinese to be with their families around a lavish table. Traditional dishes such as dried mussels are prepared, and there are always 2 characters, symbolizing luck and prosperity, placed on the table.
3. The Days of Visitation
The 1st and 2nd days after welcoming the New Year are spent visiting friends, while married couples gift their unmarried friends red envelopes, called lai see. These usually contain banknotes and are given as a symbolic way of wishing that they get married during the year. Gifts always need to come in even numbers. Younger people must prepare gifts for their parents but traditionally the parents are supposed to turn them down.
4. The Day Everyone Stays Home
Visitations usually continue for 2 days, after which, according to custom, everyone must stay home to avoid bad luck. No one goes to visit anyone else on this day because the belief goes that on the 3rd day after New Year, the wrathful dog god comes down to earth, bringing misfortune and poverty. As such, everyone needs to keep their doors closed.
5. The Days of Welcoming the Gods of Prosperity
After the day spent at home, the customs for welcoming the gods of prosperity begin. Dining tables are typically overflowing with fruits and meat, while incense is lit everywhere in the home. Prepared dishes must contain onions and garlic because according to the beliefs, they ward off diseases and bad luck. The days of welcoming the gods of prosperity usually last 1 week.