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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

As the year of the rat comes to a close, Chinese folks are busy cleaning their houses and getting rid of all the broken down appliances, ill-fitting clothes and other things that they don't want. Doing this invites fresh new energy into the home and attracts good luck in the year to come.

Before we started our day, William Wu was in the driveway washing his car, despite cold temperatures. "It's partly because it's the New Year, but it's just really dirty," he told me as he finished up.

In the last week, the trash truck has been extra busy, too. It already comes through the neighborhood twice a day, but the volume of discarded material has increased. When residents hear the strains of the "Fleur de Lise" being broadcast over a loud speaker, they come rushing out of their homes with bags and fling them into the back of the truck. Usually the neighbors linger and chat long after the trash truck is gone, but today, they run back inside because they aren't used to the cold weather (it's in the 40s).

Or perhaps they are busy preparing their Chinese New Year Eve's dinner, which will be served tonight.

All this hard work pays of with many chore-free days after the new year. In fact, you won't even see a broom for a while. According to tradition, people have to put their brooms and dust pans away, and cannot use them during the first few days, otherwise all the new luck will sweep away!

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