New Year’s Eve came and went, and now we find ourselves with another celebration to ring in 2023: Chinese New Year!
Also called Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, it is 15 days of celebration. It starts on New Year’s Eve at midnight and traditionally ends with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day.
2023 will be the year of the rabbit. In Chinese culture, the rabbit is known to be the luckiest out of all the twelve animals. It symbolizes mercy, elegance, and beauty.
How to celebrate Lunar New Year?
Chinese New Year is a very old festival and is rooted in ancient legends. A mythical beast called the Nian would eat villagers, especially children in the middle of the night. One year, all villages went into hiding except for an old man named Yanhuang, who put up red papers in the village and set off firecrackers. Nothing was destroyed, and the villagers now knew that the Nian was scared of the colour red and firecrackers.
That’s why red is abundant in Chinese New Year celebrations. Houses, temples and whole towns are decorated with red lanterns, and windows and doors are draped with red paper-cuts and couplets. The inside of the houses is also decorated with Chinese knots and Fai Chun, which is Chinese calligraphy, usually on a diamond-shaped red piece of paper. Flowers such as plum blossoms are an important part of the decorations, as are tangerines and oranges as a sign of wealth and luck. It is customary to give kids red envelopes with money inside.
Of course, there is no Chinese New Year celebration without firecrackers! At midnight, everyone lights firecrackers and fireworks, to scare away monsters and ward off bad luck, as in the legends. In China, there are many temple shows and folk shows. Even far from China, dragon and lion dances are very common - the loud beats of the drum together with the dragon’s or lion’s aggressive dancing is said to ward off evil spirits.
It’s typical to wear brand-new clothes for Chinese New Year celebrations. New clothes symbolize new beginnings. Once again, red is the predominant colour in clothes.
The most important tradition might be for the whole family to come together for New Year’s Eve dinner. Traditional foods will be abundant: many dishes are only prepared and eaten during the New Year celebration. New Year’s Eve is for family reunion, and there should be no arguments, bickering or crying. That is said to bring bad luck.
Lunar New Year dont’s: no cleaning during the celebration
Cleaning, sweeping and taking out the garbage is taboo on Chinese New Year as it might sweep the good luck away! Therefore, sweeping and throwing away garbage is not done until five days after New Year’s Eve (at least).
That’s why Chinese families give their homes a very thorough cleaning in the days leading up to the New Year celebration. They believe that cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for receiving good luck. Then, brooms and all cleaning supplies are put away on the first day of the festivities.
Whether you celebrate the Spring Festival (spring cleaning) or not, it’s a good opportunity to clean your home thoroughly from top to bottom. Between Christmas or Hanukkah and Western New Year’s Eve, there is not a lot of time to clean your home, especially if you have guests. So join in the Chinese tradition, sweep the bad luck out of your home and invite the good luck in!
How to prepare your home for Chinese New Year
Of course, there is a cleaning checklist we all perform on regular basis to keep the household going. And then, some tasks require more work - the ones we usually do only once or twice a year. Here are some of what you should do to deep-clean your home thoroughly before Chinese New Year.
1. Tips to refresh your bed
We spend up to a third of our day on a mattress - and that leaves noticeable traces. Mattresses amass sweat, dandruff and other bodily outputs, which means that every few months you should freshen up the beds (and wash your bedsheets at least every two weeks).
Take off the bed sheets and linens and wash them with some natural laundry detergent without artificial fragrances or preservatives, so it doesn’t irritate your skin and pose serious health risks. If your pillows and/or duvets are washable, you should wash them at least once a year. Now is the perfect time!
With a dryer (on low heat), you don’t have to worry about your pillows losing their fluffiness. If the pillows and duvets are not washable, shake them out and fluff them up manually. Drape them over a clothes horse to let them aerate while you tackle the mattress.
To freshen up your mattress, sprinkle it with baking soda and rub it into the mattress. If you wish your mattress to smell good naturally, add a drop of your preferred essential oil to the baking soda and shake it well to distribute properly before sprinkling it on the mattress.
Leave the baking soda for an hour. Baking soda is a natural, mild ingredient with disinfecting and antifungal properties, so it is great to prevent mould growth. It also absorbs musty smells, so it’s perfect to refresh your mattress. After about an hour, vacuum the powder away carefully, put on your freshly washed bed linen, pillows and duvet, and you’re ready for a refreshing night of sleep!
2. Clean underneath your furniture
On our regular cleaning schedule, we vacuum and wash the floors regularly. However, we don’t necessarily hoover underneath our furniture very thoroughly! So use the opportunity in preparation for the Spring Festival to clean underneath all your furniture. If your vacuum head and mop can’t reach underneath, move your furniture to the side and ensure you reach every dust bunny hiding under there.
Here is some furniture we usually only workaround:
- Couch and armchairs
- Dressers in bedrooms and living rooms
- Sideboards and TV stands
- Dining and kitchen tables and chairs
- Area rugs and bath mats
Cleaning for the Lunar New Year is the perfect opportunity to put your washable area rugs and floor mats into the washing machine. You should take all your other area rugs outside and shake them well to remove all the lodged dust and debris.
3. Ways to clean the grout
With our SuperScrub Powder and Bathroom Cleaner, mix a paste. Using an old toothbrush, apply the paste to the grout and start scrubbing. Our SuperScrub Powder is a natural scouring powder which is completely non-abrasive and non-toxic. It’s perfect for all tough challenges, in the house, like grout cleaning, without any harmful chemicals which could put you and your family at risk.
4. Clean the garbage disposal
The garbage disposal in your kitchen can often start smelling a bit funny, especially if it sees a lot of use. To clean it and remove any bad odours, you don’t need any harmful chemicals!
Put some chopped-up lemon in an ice cube tray, and fill it with water. If you like, you can add some fresh or dried herbs as well, such as mint, rosemary or thyme. Freeze the ice cubes. Once they are completely frozen, you can simply put a handful of ice cubes into your kitchen drain and turn on the garbage disposal. This will sharpen the blades of your disposal, and leave your drain smelling great - the natural way!
You can also add half a cup of baking soda to the disposal, then half a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain while the mixture fizzes. Finally, flush everything with hot water, and your garbage disposal will almost like brand new!
5. Clean inside your appliances
While we wipe the outside of our appliances every time we clean the kitchen, the appliances inside is usually a different story altogether. For our health (and electricity bill), we should clean them several times a year.
Clean the inside of your oven using a natural Kitchen Cleaner and non-abrasive scouring powder, like our SuperScrub. To clean the microwave, place a bowl with water and a few slices of lemon inside and turn it on high for 2 minutes. After, leave it standing for 1 minute so that the steam can soften up the old stains. Then, clean the microwave with Kitchen Cleaner or a non-toxic dish soap and a microfiber cloth.
You should also tackle your fridge and freezer at least once a year. Prepare a large bowl or a bucket with warm, soapy water and a microfiber cloth, and grab a few dish towels. Then empty your fridge completely. Don’t worry about your groceries, as this will only take a minute (if you’re not sure about your food, you can put it in a cooler)! Wipe all shelves with the damp microfiber, then dry. Remove all removable parts (for example, the drawer for vegetables), and wash them in the sink. Once clean and dry, you can put your groceries back inside, making sure to sort out any items gone bad.
Once your freezer is turned off, unplug it, and empty all the contents into a cooler to keep everything cold while you clean your freezer. Place towels or old newspapers underneath to catch any water that may drip and leave it to defrost. It can take several hours for a freezer to defrost.
You should take out all the drawers, detachable shelves and any other removable parts. Let them come to room temperature before handwashing them with hot soapy water (use natural dish soap). Never wash them right away with hot water if you haven’t let them sit for a while before, they might crack. Dry them with a clean towel.
While emptying all the contents into a cooler, use the opportunity to sort out your food (what to keep and what to toss). Food you can’t identify should be thrown away and mark everything you want to keep. Be aware that large ice crystals inside a container or a layer of frost on the food can indicate poor quality or possible contamination. Return your frozen groceries to the freezer once it has returned to an appropriate temperature.
Most importantly, enjoy!
If you need some help preparing your home for the festivities, or just want a deep clean in preparation for the spring to come, we can lend you a helping hand with our award-winning cleaning service. We use only 100% natural, non-toxic cleaning products so you don't need to worry about the health and safety of your family. You will have to live in Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto to be able to book a house cleaning service though.
Whether you celebrate Lunar New Year or not, now that your home is in top shape you should enjoy yourself with your friends and family. You deserve a bit of downtime after all this hard work! All of us here at AspenClean wish you a prosperous year and the best fortune in the months to come.
Happy New Year! 新年快乐! Xīn nián kuài lè!