TABOO AND SUPERSTITIONS
The entire house should be cleaned before New Year. On New Year's Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year for fear that good fortune be swept away. After New Year's day, the floors may be swept. Beginning at the door the dust and rubbish are swept to the middle of the parlor, then placed in the corners and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day. At no time should the rubbish in the corners be trampled upon. In sweeping, there is a superstition that if you sweep the dirt out over the threshold, you will sweep one of the family away. Also to sweep the dust and dirt out of your house by the front entrance is to sweep away the good fortune of the family; it must always be swept inwards and then carried out, then no harm will follow. All dirt and rubbish when taken out must never be through the front entrance but by the back door.
BRINGING IN THE NEW YEAR AND EXPELLING THE OLD
Shooting off firecrackers on New Year's Eve is the Chinese way of sending out the old year and welcoming in the new year. On the stroke of twelve on New Year's Eve, every door in the house, and even windows, have to be open to allow the old year to go out.
NEW YEAR ACTIVITIES SET PRECEDENT
All debts had to paid by this time. Nothing should be lent on this day, as anyone who does so will be lending all the year. In olden times when tinder and flint were used, no one would lend them on this day or give a light to others.
Everyone should refrain from using foul language and bad or unlucky words. Negative terms and the word "four" (Ssu) as it sounds like the like the word for death are not uttered. Death and dying are never mentioned and ghost stories are totally taboo. References to the past year is also avoided as everything should be turned towards the new Year and a new beginning.
If you cry on New Year's day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they are mischievous.
MISCELLANEOUS NEW YEAR SUPERSTITIONS
For those most superstitious, before leaving the house to call on others, the Almanac should be consulted to find the best time to leave the home and the direction which is most auspicious to head out.
The first person one meets and the first words heard are significant as to what the fortunes would be for the entire year. It is a lucky sign to see or hear songbirds or red-colored birds or swallows.
It is considered unlucky to greet anyone in their bedroom so that everyone, even the sick, would get dressed and sit in the living room.
Do not use knives or scissors on New Year Day as this may cut off fortune.
It is doubtful that Chinese today actually believe in these do's and don'ts however, these traditions and customs are still practiced. These traditions and customs are kept because most families realize that is these very traditions, whether believed or not, that provide continuity with the past and provide the family with an identity.
PERSONAL APPEARANCE AND CLEANLINESS
One New Year's Day, we are not suppose to wash our hair because it would mean we would have washed away good luck for the new year. Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is believed that appearance and attitude during New Year's sets the tone for the year to come. Children and unmarried friends, as well as close relatives are given lai see, little red envelopes with crisp one dollar bills inserted, for good fortune.