How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Drop that knife! A few superstitions for Lunar New Year

If you want to live long, eat some noodles today.
If you want to live long, eat some noodles today. Photo by stumptownpanda/Flickr (Creative Commons)

As the Lunar New Year marking the Year of the Dragon kicks off, KPCC’s Kim Bui is giving housework a rest and pondering who to invite to – and who to keep out of – her home today. Why? I'll let her explain:

Chúc m?ng n?m m?i!

Today is the start of Lunar New Year. Growing up, this meant a trip to church to see the dragon dance and little red envelopes. As I've gotten older, the celebration of the new moon has always mean a fresh start and tasty food, plus plenty of superstitions.

My mother is a staunch Catholic, but like many Viets, she follows all of the proper New Year traditions. So, as an adult, I spent the weekend cleaning my house, getting it ready and doing some cooking and shopping and chopping (no knives on New Year's Day, it cuts your luck!).

For fun, I gathered a bunch of superstitions below. Which ones do you ascribe to?

  • The first person to walk through your home is the bearer of luck for the year. Lunar New Year is about visiting friends and family (my own parents are in Vietnam visiting family), so you want your "luckiest" friend or family member with you on New Year's Day.

  • No housework on New Year's Day. The weeks before are spent cleaning. Sweeping, especially, you don't want to sweep away your luck!

  • Eat noodles for a long life

  • Wear new clothes

  • No yelling, otherwise you'll be fighting all year.

  • Give children money (in those little red envelopes!)

  • Buy new plants, to grow a propserous new year (we buy Hoa Mai, a pretty yellow flowering plant).

A couple of other superstitions, collected from Twitter:
No washing hair the day of, no using scissors, no cursing or saying negative times like death, wearing brand new stuff, hair cut.

— Kristie Hang (??) (@KristieHang)

jump around on new years so you'll grow taller. And keep coins in your pockets. Place round fruit around the house for prosperity

— Paola Rodelas (@paopao619)

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