On February 3rd Chinese families around the world will be cleaning their homes, sweeping out all the previous year’s ill luck to make way for the new year’s good fortune. Once the house has been swept clean, colorful red decorations featuring small bits of poetry about happiness, wealth and longevity will be hung up around doorways and windows. The rest of the eve of the new year will be spent feasting on sweet treats and traditional delicacies before the night ends with enough firecrackers to scare off any evil spirits that might be lurking.
The preparations allow the new year to dawn bright and full of promise. Early on the first day children receive little red envelopes filled with money and family members greet each other with warm wishes for a healthy and happy new year. It’s a time to put the past behind and focus on the future.
As with most holidays, it’s not always possible to reach out and directly hug loved ones to wish them a happy and prosperous new year. Beautiful Chinese New Years cards are a close second to an in person hug. As an added bonus, the bright colors and beautiful designs help friends and family decorate their homes in preparation for the festivities.