Happy Year of the Rabbit! Learned scholars assure us the rabbit will bring wisdom and kindness and calm to the year ahead. (He has his work cut out in Egypt.)
There are lots of very particular Chinese New Year traditions. Here are some of my favorites (a little late):
Before New Year's Eve, clean the entire house to get rid of any of last year's dirt (I wish!), then put all brooms and brushes out of sight. Pay all your debts (again... I wish), and resolve all outstanding quibbles with family, friends and neighbors.
Buy red things. And flowers. And red flowers.
Arrange oranges and tangerines and candy on circular trays.
Put fresh dollar bills in red envelopes.
On New Year's Eve reunite with close family. Eat dumplings. Pay respects to ancestors. Open all the windows to let out the old year.
On New Year's Day don't wash your hair. Don't sweep the floor. Don't cut anything. Don't drop your chopsticks. Don't say the number four or mention death. Don't borrow or lend money.
Give children two red envelopes because happiness comes in pairs.
Wish everyone Gung Hey Fat Choy!
Eat rabbit-shaped dumplings!