In China, Spring Festival is viewed as the most important and grandest festival in a year. On this special occassion, many folk customs have been well preserved for years.
洗邋遢 Wash away the dirt
A saying goes in Guangdong Province - “people wash away the dirt on ninyabaat”（年廿八，洗邋遢）(“ninyabaat” refers to the 28th day of the twelfth lunar month). On the days before the new year celebration, local households like to give their home a thorough cleaning. It is culturally believed that by clearing away all the bad things in the past year, people would get a good headstart and gather up good luck for the coming year.
逛花市 Visit flower markets
In Guangdong, flower market is one of the most festive events held before the Spring Festival. Strolling along a street with stalls that sell gorgeous blossoms is how people wish for the brand new year. For example, buying red peaches (红桃) signifies people’s aspirations for a grand prospect. (In Cantonese, “red peaches” and “grand prospect” resemble in pronunciation); buying kumquat (金桔) underlies a wish for good luck (In Cantonese, “kumquat” and “luck” resemble in pronunciation). An outburst of colors add up to a more vibrant new year - peach blossoms, lilies, chrysanthemums and a lot more.
接财神 Worship the God of Fortune
As passed down in folklores and tales, the 15th day of the first lunar month is the birthday of the God of Fortune. Thus, this date has then been marked as the day of wealth and prosperity. It has become a common practice for people to prepare a banquet in the night before the date in celebration of his birth.
派利是 Send out Lishi (Red Envelope)
In Guangdong, “Lishi” is a local nickname for “Hongbao”. At the Cantonese New Year greetings, people will send out Lishi to relatives and friends. Red envelopes stand for a mix of energy, happiness and good luck. Elders give Lishi to the young, wishing them all the best. In Guangdong, red envelopes are always handed out in pairs, as the blessings of a couple.
行通济 Walk across Tongji Bridge
“Walk across Tongji Bridge and get rid of all the bad luck of the coming year!” On the Lantern Festival, walking across Tongji Bridge also marks the end of the Lunar New Year. Families in Foshan will walk across Tongji Bridge from north to south, holding windmills, ringing wind chimes and carrying lettuce, praying for peace and prosperity in the coming year. Due to the pandemic, all social gatherings are cancelled during the CNY. You can cross the Tongji Bridge online.
Author | Michelle, Lillian, Jersey
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