8 Powerful Tips We Can Learn From the Chinese New Year Traditions

Treat Others the Same Good Way You Would Like to be Treated(礼尚往来)

It is courteous and virtuous to treat others well in the Chinese tradition. Symbolically, people exchange a pair of mandarin oranges when paying house visits to one another during the lunar new year to signify the courtesy of mutual respect and wishing. To treat others well, in short, is to use thoughts, words and actions for others in such a way that you would also appreciate it if others were to treat you the same way in return. The Chinese believe that in doing so, mutual respect is built and it paves the way for stronger positive relationships with others. In turn, these relationships can foster the open channels of harmony, prosperity and opportunities in our life.

By applying this tradition to our life, we can adopt an “in their shoes” kind of approach in our dealings with others. Try to keep a positive mindset and respond positively to others. When in doubt or moment of negative energy, pause and ask if you would like your own response if you are the receiving person.

Clear Your Debts Before Chinese New Year (不欠过年)

Symbolic in nature, it is often encouraged for people to clear their debts before the start of the lunar new year for the Chinese. The reason is that the Chinese believe that any debt (apart from perennial ones like mortgage, study loans and car loans) that is uncleared is an indication of perpetual debt in the coming years. Clearing of personal debt, whether monetary or favours, is a sign of starting afresh with new hopes of a better future.

This tradition is actually financially sound, even in our modern society. Clearing of personal debt and non-secured loans such as credit card loans are actually good for our financial status. When banks assess our loan-ability or credit rating, a clean sheet without any of such financial debt is very positive and good for our overall assessment by the banks. This bodes well for any investment plans we have too. Hence, take the chance at the start of each year (be it lunar new year or Gregorian new year) to consolidate our debts and pay off anything we can. Tidy up our finances and turn the page to a better year ahead.

Empty the Old and Welcome the New (除旧迎新)

As a gesture of good luck, it is common for the Chinese to welcome the lunar new year by replacing old items with new ones. This includes a change of new clothes, a fresh coat of paint for the house, a new refurbishment of furniture, an addition of new ornaments / flowers / decorations or just simply a new hair cut. It is believed that by changing household and personal items to new ones, it will welcome a new wave of good luck, blessings and opportunity.

We can emulate the spirit of clearing the old to make way for the new. Clearing the old bad can mean getting rid of bad old habits, practices, influences, liabilities or weaknesses. Doing this makes way for brand new fresher things to enter our life. The spirit of renewal, rejuvenation, reinvigoration is encouraged.

Respect the Experienced and the Wise(敬老尊贤)

Respect and manners are big on the virtue list of the Chinese. Paying respects to the senior and giving due credit to the wise are basic virtues that ring well with all. It is seen in positive light and earns credibility if one is able to treat others in this way.

This simple virtue of respect actually is very pragmatic and advantageous in the modern society too. Manners, respect and proper decorum builds rapport, earns respect in return and lays the foundation for a good overall impression. Adopt this advice and it may brighten your social relations and reputation among your social circle.

Harmony Brings Wealth (和气生财)

As with festivities, it is always in vogue to maintain a light-hearted mood and cordial relations. In the spirit of celebration and merry-making, keeping a friendly, harmonious and supportive interaction is really important for the Chinese in the lunar new year.

Avoidance of conflict is the first step to finding solutions. Open discussion and sharing is a second step to resolving any issues. Respecting difference and compromising is a third step to building lasting solutions to any disagreement. Take these basic 3 steps and you are on your way to a more harmonious relationship. With more harmony, things happen more smoothly and opportunities flow in abundantly.

Have Annual Surplus (年年有余)

Each lunar new year, the Chinese looks forward to a new year of abundance. Abundance in health, wealth and happiness such that there are overflowing surpluses. Some may even cook extra food during their reunion dinner on new year eve so that there is leftover food as a good luck symbol of overflowing surpluses.

Taken metaphorically, it is always good to keep in mind a prudent budget for the new year, spend wisely, invest astutely and keep a healthy balance sheet. A focus on financial planning and resources allocation is key to a better future too.

What the Heart Wishes Will Get Accomplished(心想事成)

A common well wishing during the lunar new year is to hope that a person can have his wishes fulfilled in the coming year. A simple but practical well wishing that suits everyone, don’t you think so?

This is a tip for us to re-calibrate our focus, establish our goals and strive towards our targets in the new year. What we set our minds on, we will achieve it. If we set our mind on bad and negative outcomes, we will get exactly that. If we set our minds to big and positive goals, even if we fall short of it, we will still be in good territory.

Big Sweep (大扫除)

As a form of auspicious action and for general cleanliness, the Chinese believe in having a major clean up session to make the house neat, clean and welcoming for guests in the new year. This is usually done as a family affair, encouraging bonding and interaction.

We can extract the spirit of conscientious effort and discipline from this tradition  and apply it to our life. Taking the diligent effort to maintain our house, work place or private spaces in livable / workable / conducive condition does help improve our overall performance in life. Keep start a better way of life by incorporating this habit of housekeeping and tidiness into our routine and observe the positive impact in our future.


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