Why Cleaning Before Chinese New Year Brings Good Luck

Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, is an essential holiday in Chinese culture. One of the traditions that come along with this celebration is cleaning homes thoroughly before the New Year arrives. But why do the Chinese put so much emphasis on cleaning their house before the New Year? Well, there are several reasons behind it, and they all revolve around the idea of starting the year on the right foot and bringing in good luck.
  • Removing bad luck: For the Chinese, dust represents stagnation, and cleaning your home before the New Year helps remove the negative energy from the previous year that has accumulated in your home.
  • Welcoming good luck: Cleaning your home is considered as a way of inviting good luck and fortune to enter your home. A clean and organized home is believed to attract positive energy and, thus, good luck.
  • Honoring ancestors: The Chinese believe that their ancestors’ spirits visit them during the New Year. So, cleaning the ancestral altar and tidying up the home is seen as a way of welcoming and showing respect to their ancestors.
  • Preparation for new opportunities: Cleaning and decluttering areas of your home opens up space for new opportunities and possibilities to enter your life. It is also considered preparation for the new year, which accompanies new beginnings and opportunities.
  • In summary, cleaning your home before the New Year in Chinese culture is more than just a basic cleaning task. It is a yearly ritual with a symbolic meaning that involves removing the old and welcoming the new, bringing good luck and fortune into your home and life.
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    Why Do Chinese Clean Their House Before New Year?

    The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, represents the most important holiday in Chinese culture. This festive season spans over two weeks and commemorates the beginning of the lunar calendar. During this time, Chinese families from all over the world, celebrate the start of a new year by cleaning their homes thoroughly. Let’s explore the origins, beliefs, and traditions surrounding this widespread custom.

    Origins of the Cleaning Tradition Before Chinese New Year

    The origins of this tradition date back to several myths and legends in Chinese culture. According to one of these stories, a ferocious monster called Nian would lurk around villages and towns, attacking people and livestock on New Year’s Eve. Eventually, the villagers discovered that Nian was sensitive to the color red, loud noises, and the odor of burning bamboo. So they started to decorate their homes with red banners, firecrackers, and lights to scare away the monster. The villagers also cleaned their homes thoroughly before New Year’s Eve to get rid of any bad luck from the preceding year and prepare for a new start. Another legend states that the Kitchen God would ascend to heaven on New Year’s Eve to report to the Jade Emperor about the household’s behavior. Keeping the house clean and tidy would show respect to the Kitchen God and improve the chances of having a favorable report.

    The Symbolic Meaning Behind Cleaning Before the New Year

    In Chinese, the word dust can be interpreted as a synonym for old. Therefore, cleaning your home before the New Year is symbolic of removing the negative luck from the previous year to give way to a fresh start. It is also believed that sweeping and dusting on New Year’s Day can sweep away or rid of one’s good luck. Therefore, cleaning before New Year’s Day is crucial to ensuring a prosperous and auspicious start to the new year.
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    Specific Cleaning Rituals for Chinese New Year

    Cleaning before the New Year involves more than just your standard vacuuming and dusting. Here are some traditional cleaning rituals that Chinese families typically follow:
    • Throwing away old and broken items to make way for new ones
    • Dusting and wiping down all surfaces including walls, windows, and furniture
    • Sweeping the floors from the center of the room towards the door and then out the front door to symbolize the sweeping away of bad luck
    • Washing all bedding, linens and curtains to ensure a fresh start to the new year

    Superstitions and Beliefs Associated with the Cleaning Tradition

    In Chinese culture, there are many superstitions associated with the cleaning tradition. Here are some of the most popular beliefs:
    • Do not sweep on the first day of the New Year, as it is believed to sweep away good luck and fortune
    • Do not take out the garbage on New Year’s Day or you will be throwing away your good luck
    • Do not clean with a broom after New Year’s Day as it is believed it to sweep away the accumulated wealth and good fortune
    • Using a new broom or mop is considered auspicious as it symbolizes sweeping in new good luck

    Importance of Cleaning for Family Harmony

    The cleaning tradition before the new year also serves a practical purpose of ensuring family harmony. By working together as a family, cleaning the house can create a sense of teamwork, togetherness, and harmony, which is a vital ingredient for a happy and prosperous home environment. A clean and orderly home can also give a sense of pride and accomplishment.
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    Ways to Incorporate the Cleaning Tradition in Modern Times

    While many families still follow the traditional cleaning rituals, the modern lifestyle has made it challenging for some families to clean their homes as thoroughly as they would like. Here are some ways to incorporate the cleaning tradition in modern times:
    • Schedule a deep cleaning day well before the festive season
    • Organize a family cleaning day where everyone pitches in to clean the house
    • Donate old items to charity or recycle them instead of throwing them away
    • Use eco-friendly cleaning products that are safe for the environment
    • Introduce a minimalist approach by purchasing fewer items and focusing on quality
    In conclusion, cleaning before the new year is more than just a practical task. It is a tradition rooted in ancient Chinese culture that holds immense significance both culturally and spiritually. By following these customs, Chinese families ensure a prosperous and harmonious start to the new year.

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