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Start your year right this Year of the Goat!
By Juwai, 15 February 2015
新年快乐! Pronounced “Xin Nián Kuài Lè”, that means “Happy New Year” in Chinese!
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the biggest and most important holiday in China.
As one of the two Golden Weeks in China, it is also the biggest travel boom of the year, whereby many high net worth Chinese are increasingly favouring overseas travel during this weeklong holiday.
The Year of the Goat kicks off on 19 February 2015, but tons of Chinese are already travelling or just about to jet off to the travel destination of their choice. For property agents and brokers, where they go is vital to note.
Many rich Chinese take advantage of Golden Week to combine family reunion and vacation – as well as property hunting!
Savvy agents, or long-time followers of Juwai, would already know of the golden opportunity (pardon the pun) that Golden Week presents, and would have already prepared themselves to greet the wave of Chinese buyers set to arrive in their respective countries.
From a cultural aspect, though, what else can you do to start the Year of the Goat right? Here are some Chinese New Year traditions to try:
Spring clean your home
Having your home spic and span for the Lunar New Year is a must-do in Chinese culture.
For days (or weeks) before Chinese New Year, every nook and cranny of the home is dusted and cleaned, while old and broken items are discarded or given away to the needy.
Chinese religiously observe this custom, as it is believed to sweep away old and stagnant Chi (energy flow), thus allowing new and positive Chi to flow into your home to ensure a better year ahead.
It’s important to note, though, that all frenetic cleaning must stop by the eve of Chinese New Year. This is because many Chinese believe that sweeping the floor or disposing of garbage on Day 1 will sweep away luck, and cast riches out of the door!
Wish auspicious greetings
A popular custom during Chinese New Year is to greet one another with auspicious sayings as a simple way of spreading fortune, goodwill, and festive cheer.
Beyond the traditional phrases of “Xin Nián Kuài Lè” (新年快乐), Chinese people will say things like “Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái” (恭喜发财), which means “Wishing you prosperity and fortune”!
This Year of the Goat, here are some more popular auspicious phrases you can use to start your year right with your Chinese buyers:
- 羊年大吉 [ Yáng Nián Dà Jí ]
A play on the phrase “大年大吉” [ Dà Nián Dà Jí ], which means “great luck and prosperity” this Year of the Goat
- 羊年如意 [ Yáng Nián Rú Yì ]
A play on the phrase “万事如意” [ Wàn Shì Rú Yì ], which means “may all your wishes come true” this Year of the Goat
- 三羊开泰 [ Sān Yáng Kāi Tài ]
A play on the similar-sounding phrase “三阳开泰”, which means “auspicious beginnings”
- 喜气羊羊 [ Xǐ Qì Yáng Yang ]
A play on the similar-sounding phrase “喜气洋洋”, which means “happiness and full of joy”
Eat lucky foods
What you eat during the Lunar New Year is very important for Chinese, who believe eating certain foods with symbolic meanings will usher in an auspicious start for the New Year.
This Year of the Goat, bring prosperity, luck, health and wealth by eating these lucky foods!
- Mandarin Oranges
Symbolises luck and prosperity. Mandarin Oranges are also popular as decorations and gifts but never group them in fours, as this number is unlucky and sounds like the word for “death”.
- Long Noodles / Miàn Tiáo (面条)
Long, unbroken noodles signifies longevity. The aim is to eat the whole noodle without breaking it for a long, healthy life.
- Dumplings / Jiǎo Zi (饺子)
Represents wealth and prosperity. Its shape resembles a “Yuán Bǎo” ingot (元宝), an ancient Chinese currency.
- New Year Cake / Nián Gāo (年糕)
A glutinous rice cake also called “Sticky Rice Cake”, which indicates “soaring towards greater heights every year”.
- Whole Fish / Yú (鱼)
The Chinese word for fish sounds similar to “Yú” (余), which means “surplus” and “abundance”. The head and tail must be intact, as this ensures “a good start and finish throughout the year”.
- Prosperity Cake / Fā Gāo (发糕)
Brightly coloured, steamed Chinese cupcakes, whose name sounds similar to the Chinese phrase for “to rise” or “to prosper”.
- Dried Black Moss a.k.a Hair Moss / Fà Cài (发菜)
Denotes “wealth”, as its name sounds like the Chinese phrase for “striking it rich”.
Put together a Tray of Togetherness
The Tray of Togetherness or "Cuán Hé" (攒盒) is another must-have during the Lunar New Year. This Chinese candy box – with (usually) 8 compartments – is filled with candies and traditional treats to symbolise a sweet and rich year ahead.
Traditionally reserved as snacks when relatives and guests come a calling, the Tray of Togetherness is also a meaningful gift full of sincere well-wishes during Chinese New Year – perfect for your Chinese customers this Year of the Goat!
Usher in prosperity, luck, and health with a Tray of Togetherness filled with any of these following nibbles:
- 红瓜 [ Hóng Guā Zǐ ]
Dried red melon seeds for joy and happiness
- 黑瓜子 [ Hēi Guā Zǐ ]
Dried black melon seeds for fertility
- 糖莲藕 [ Táng Lián Ǒu ]
Dried candied lotus root denotes abundance
- 糖莲子 [ Táng Lián Zǐ ]
Dried candied lotus seeds symbolises fertility
- 桂圆 [ Guì Yuán ]
Dried longan brings many sons in future
- 糖椰子 [ Táng Yē Zǐ ]
Dried candied coconut signifies friendship and unity
- 糖冬瓜 [ Táng Dōng Guā ]
Dried candied winter melon brings growth and health
- 金橘脯 [ Jīn Jú Pú ]
Preserved kumquats represents gold and prosperity
- 花生 [ Huā Shēng ]
Peanuts symbolises longevity
- 干荔枝 [ Gàn Lì Zhī ]
Dried lychee nuts connotes strong family ties
Wear new and gaily coloured clothes
What you wear is crucial, particularly for the first day of Chinese New Year. Red clothing is best, as Chinese consider red to be the colour of wealth, luck, happiness, and prosperity.
If red is not your colour, go for any brightly coloured clothes that gives off a happy, positive vibe, such as pink, yellow, and orange.
Most importantly, all white or black clothing should be avoided at all costs during this festive period. These are the traditional colours for mourning for Chinese, so it’s a big taboo and cultural faux pas!
Fun tip: Some Chinese believe wearing red underwear will help ward off bad luck and dangers that may befall you, especially if your Chinese zodiac predicts an unlucky year ahead. We can’t guarantee its efficacy, though, but it’s worth a try!
Observe this list of customary “Don’ts”
- DON’T swear or quarrel – you could end up having arguments throughout the year!
- DON’T borrow or lend money – you could end up doing so all year round
- DON’T use sharp objects like scissors or knives – sharp objects indicate danger, and you could sever and cut away your good luck
- DON’T waste your time napping – you could dampen your career luck, so stay awake and be productive
- DON’T wash your hair on Day 1 – you could wash away your wealth, as the Chinese word for hair, “Tóu Fǎ” (头发), is the same word used in the Chinese word for “fortune” or “Fā Cái” (发财)
Check out your 2015 fortune
Last but not least, if you haven't already, don’t forget to check out your fortune for the Year of the Goat! “Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái” and here’s wishing you luck and success with Chinese buyers this Golden Week!
We’re working throughout the holidays for you! If you need to reach us at customer support, we're available via email and phone except on 19 February 2015.