Thursday, January 23, 2014

One Man's Treasure

Cruising around San Francisco’s Chinatown looking at all the Chinese… stuff (junk) for sale, got me thinking about superstitions.  As the Lunar New Year approaches, here are the Do’s and Don’ts of Chinese New Year.
1.   Yikes!  It’s a Broom!

During Lunar New Year one should avoid brooms at all cost.  Don’t touch one, don’t even mention cleaning up.  All cleaning should be done the day before.  Any sweeping, cleaning, wiping, dusting means you are sending your good fortune for the year away.   AND… never hit someone with a broom… you’ll sweep your life’s good luck for a year.
2.   Seriously:  Scissors & Shampoo Too?

Yep!  Don’t “cut” or “wash” out your luck.  (Walking through my classroom looking at hair snow flakes…  is certainly a Winter Wonderland)
3.  Speaking of Hair…

Don’t even think about growing a moustache or beard.  An unshaven face is a lowly face.  What about “Movember”?  There’s no irony in China.  If you really want to be fashionable, grow out your mole hair.  Call it… “Mole-vember.”
4.  Dogs  + Babies  + Teeth  +  Snow  = Ghosts  &  Death

The Rundown:  Dogs barking and Babies crying means ghosts are afoot.  Take precaution.  Dreams of Teeth or Snow means your parents are pushing daisies.
5.   Magic Numbers:  Crazy 8’s and  Murder 4’s

The Chinese take lucky numbers to an art form.   The pronunciation of the number ‘eight’ and the word for ‘prosperity’ are very similar, hence 8 has great social value here.  Fights erupt over car registrations, house addresses, and bribes occur to be issued the number 8.  Conversely, the number ‘four’ sounds eerily like the word for ‘death.’    It is unacceptable for vehicles and houses to use this number.  You’ve been warned!
6.   Duh!  Moons.  Fingers.  Houses Facing North

Well, obviously… don’t point at the moon or your ear will fall off… don’t clip your fingernails at night because it attracts ghosts, and don’t build a house facing north because all your luck runs out the front door.  Sheesh!  Don’t you know anything?
7.   Turtles & Noodles

Whew!  Finally some logic:  If you start a business, make sure you are not simultaneously keeping a turtle in a cage.  It slows down your progress.  I know… you’re welcome!  ALSO… Noodles mean longevity.   Cut the noodle, cut your life!   So… slurp away.  But , if you choke… no one is going to help you.  No Heimlich in China!
8.   Red Underwear

Finally, the most important thing is… wear the color RED!  Red is blood and blood is good luck.  But if you really want to go native… slip into a pair of red undies.  Good for YOU.  Good for ME.  Happy Chinese New Year, Everybody!

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