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Chinese New Years Customs
On New Years Day a vegetarian meal is served with dumplings rolled with coins for good luck. During visiting over several days sweets are served in a lucky eight-sided dish. Watermelon seeds for male prowess, coconut for togetherness, candied melon for growth and health, candied lotus for birth of sons, tangerines for luck, peanuts for long life and oranges for sweetness and wealth. New Clothing is worn. Gifts are wrapped in red. Money is given in red envelopes called Hong Bao [Red Packet] and Lai See [Lucky] Lucky money is hung by shopkeepers for the Lion dance. The Lion Dance is used in the consecration of temples, at business openings, planting and harvest times, official celebrations, and religious rites. The music is a drum, gong, and cymbol. New Years cards are given. The end of the New Year is marked by the Festival of Lanterns which is a celebration with singing, dancing and lantern shows. (2)
Taboos: Bathing and sweeping is not done on New Years Day so that good luck is not washed away. Sharp tools are avoided so luck will not be cut. White signifies death and misfortune and words pertaining to death are avoided. No black is worn or bad words spoken. Red envelopes are not opened in front of others.