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    Happy New Year 2006!

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    (Webmasters)Happy New Year 2006:


    A search in Google produced all sorts of interesting Chinese New Year customs and superstitions, including:


    - The entire house should be cleaned before New Year's Day and all dirt and rubbish must be taken out the back door. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away.


    - 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 midnight 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's activities set a precedent. All debts have to be paid by this time. Nothing should be lent on this day, as anyone who does so will be lending all the year.


    - Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy colour, sure to bring the wearer a sunny future. It is believed appearance and attitude during New Year's sets the tone for the rest of the year. 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.


    - Knives are not set on the table as they are considered cooking utensils. You might cut off your fortune if you use a knife on New Year's Day.


    - 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-coloured birds or swallows (Taboos.com).


    Other superstitions include:


    Whatever happens on New Year's Day sets the pattern for the rest of the year.


    It is unlucky, therefore, to see the New Year in with no food or drink in the cupboards. They will remain bare for the ensuring twelve months. The same is said to be true with money.


    Rise early to ensure a busy and profitable year at work, all those in employment should do something that reflects their work in some way, even if they take the day off.


    Wearing something new on New Year's Day promotes the chances of receiving further new clothing in the year ahead.


    Washing clothes on New Year's day is inadvisable, for one of the family will themselves be "washed away" in the months ahead. (Unless you grew up in my family -- mom insisted we all do some type of domestic chore, like darning or washing, to ensure our homes were spotless and our lives well-maintained the rest of the year.)


    It is bad luck to pay money or lend money, lend precious belongings or break anything. Ideally, any outstanding debts should be paid by New Year's Eve to ensure further debts are not incurred in the year to come.


    It is also thought weather plays a role in the day. If the wind blows from north, bad weather is in store; if it comes from the south, fine weather and prosperous times lie ahead; if it blows from the east, famine or some other calamity is on the way; if it blows from the west, the year will witness plentiful supplies of fish and milk but will also see the death of a very distinguished personage. If there is no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all.


    Babies born on New Year's day will grow up with luck always on their side.


    When all is said and done, if you must keep one custom, keep it year round -- please don't drink and drive if you're going out to celebrate. And, if you're hosting a party, please ensure your guests don't drink and drive either. Make plans and have a safe and happy New Year's.


    Oh -- and don't forget to wear your red underwear!

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