By Kathryn Weber
Although spring seems like a great time to pare down as you prepare for spring cleaning, winter is also a great time to purge your excess. Feng shui experts will tell you that clearing out clutter is a great way to unburden your life and add more energy to your home. But cleaning and clearing is also an important tradition and part of the preparations for the Lunar New Year, also called Chinese New Year. The Year of the Rat is due on January 25th, and having a sparkling and decluttered home just ahead of it is considered to bring good luck all year long.
New Year ready
As part of preparing for the Lunar New Year, many Asian and Chinese prepare their home as they would for an important guest, taking time to do a thorough decluttering of old items, giving their home a deep cleaning, and adding auspicious decorations such as flowers and oranges. The home is given a thorough going-over so as to rid the house of old energy and prepare it for the new energy of the New Year.
Broken equals broke
Another important undertaking around the house is to make home maintenance repairs. When there are broken items in the home, the belief is that it can bring down the homeowners’ fortune, even creating financial loss. Taking a quick run through the house to oil a squeaky door or cabinet hinge, touch up scuffed wall paint or repairing faucet drips will help create good energy because your home is in good working order.
Sweeping, dusting and cleaning are a key part of making the house ready for the Lunar New Year. In particular, it is the importance of cleaning the kitchen. In Chinese custom, the kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned, the pantry purged and restocked, and canisters refilled. New foods, such as nuts, sweets, and fruits are also purchased and put out for all to enjoy and to show abundance. Citrus fruits, especially oranges, are set out in large bowls as the fruit symbolizes gold in Chinese tradition.
Creating a home that welcomes the New Year, often seen as a young boy and a girl, the Chinese believe in adorning their homes with bright red signs written with words of good fortune at doorways and bringing in flowering plants. Many will purchase small orange trees, and a visit to your local Chinese markets will often find them overflowing with plants and flowers believed to augur good fortune. Flowers such as narcissus are considered especially auspicious as are flowering branches such as peach or pussy willow. Added to your home, they’ll bring a little spring-time feeling and brighten up dull winter days.
If January New Year got past you and you’d like a re-set, the Lunar New Year is a fun way to get your house purged, cleaned and to welcome the Year of the Rat – and who knows? You might just find that fortune and favor are with you in the Year of the Rat.