We opened the windows and doors (briefly because of the minus 46 with the windchill) to bring in the good luck of the year. The girls received red packets with gold coins for prosperity and enjoyed some sweets to ensure a "sweet year." Some other New Year's practices are:
• Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals (帛金 : Bai Jin). The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes. The number six is also very lucky due to the reason, in Chinese six[六,liu] can mean smooth, as in having a smooth year. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets.
• Opening windows and/or doors is considered to bring in the good luck of the new year.
• Switching on the lights for the night is considered good luck to 'scare away' ghosts and spirits of misfortune that may compromise the luck and fortune of the new year.
• Sweets are eaten to ensure the consumer a "sweet" year.
• It is important to have the house completely clean from top to bottom before New Year's Day for good luck in the coming year. (however, as explained below, cleaning the house on or after New Year's Day is frowned upon)
• Some believe that what happens on the first day of the new year reflects the rest of the year to come. Chinese people will often gamble at the beginning of the year, hoping to get luck and prosperity.
• Wearing a new pair of slippers that is bought before the new year, because it means to step on the people who gossip about you.
• The night before the new year, bathe yourself in pomelo leaves and some say that you will be healthy for the rest of the new year.
• Changing different things in the house such as blankets, clothes, mattress covers etc. is also a well respected tradition in terms of cleaning the house in preparation for the new year.
In our house we have a pig, a sheep, a rat and a monkey. Can you guess who is represented by each animal. To find out your Chinese zodiac check here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_astrology then check here to see what personality traits are associated with that animal here http://www.chinesezodiac.com/signs.php