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#8 Spring Cleaning for Chinese New Year

Sweeping out the old to let in the new.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Chúc mừng năm mới!

新年快樂!

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It’s hard to believe but I’ve celebrated Chinese New Year over 15 times out here in Asia.

And one of the biggest Lunar New Year traditions in China, Taiwan, Singapore, and here in Vietnam, besides the red envelopes, the reunion dinners, the lion dances, is cleaning out the house before the new year, otherwise known as 大掃除.

This translates to the “big cleaning.”

Days before the New Year families clean their entire house, scrubbing down every nook and cranny in hopes of sweeping out bad luck from the previous year.

The idea?

To clear room for a New Year full of good luck and prosperity.

I hate to clean but it’s beautiful to spend half a day doing this.

There’s so much to donate, so much to dispose, and I made a point to scrub down every corner of my apartment, spic and span. Making it lighter, airier, fresher…

Like Daniel in the Karate Kid,

[Mr. Miyagi: Wax on right hand, Wax off left hand]

I learn through each wipe that I must: sweep out the old to let in the new.

[Mr. Miyagi: Don’t forget to breathe. Very important!]

And what a metaphor this is.

Not just for the Lunar New Year but for life.

We must breathe out to breathe in.

We must empty our cups to be filled.

We must make space for luck and opportunity to enter.

And what about scrubbing our digital homes and our inter mental space too?

If our closets and laptops and minds are full of clutter and dust, how can life add anything new?

So my first question when welcoming a new year or welcoming something new into my life is not what to do? but first, what must I let go?

And that’s what I’m reminded of each Chinese New Year, especially this year cleaning out my small apartment in Saigon, Vietnam.

So I want to wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year.

心想事成 (xīn xiǎng shì chéng) “May all your wishes come true.”

步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng) “May every step take you higher.”

恭喜发财 (gōng xǐ fā cái) “Wish you wealth and prosperity.”

年年有餘 (nián nián yǒu yú) “May you have abundance every year.”

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới, “Happy New Year.”

Sức khỏe dồi dào, “Wishing you plenty of health.”

And as a public service announcement, please remember don’t use brooms the first few days of the New Year… you’ll sweep away all the good luck.

That’s what my mom told me and I still do it to this day

So happy Chinese New Year here at ASE. We’ll see you next week.