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Thursday, February 14, 2008

CNY traditions

the dreaded 大扫除 (spring cleaning) that must be completed before 初一 (1st day of lunar new year which was on 7 Feb 08) almost killed me. Mostly becos work was crazy, and I had to do most of it alone since E was out of town more than half of the time earlier this year.

But i doggedly went on with it, and slowly I saw the wisdom in 去旧迎新 (getting rid of the old, welcoming the new)

In the old days, the Chinese probably took the last few weeks before spring to shake out the lethargy of winter by making everything clean, repairing old and broken stuff, cleaning away unrepairable/ useless/ no longer suitable things that would have been merely in the way or even dangerous. They then decorated the house for the new year, and by doing it thoroughly, they could afford to spend less time in maintaining the house and more on the lucrative farm work that could not wait. By having new/ clean and well functioning items, the family could be healthier and more productive.

I found the clearing of nooks and cannies that had stuff stored over time therapeutic, not only in lifting an invisible (even if they were out of sight, your mind will know they are there) burden or a cleaning up very real and unsightly molehill of junk or dirt.

I bought and replaced
- new clothes and shoes for everybody at home
- new bedsheet sets
- toothbrushes
- bath towels
- cleaning supplies like mops, brushes and sponges

Threw away
- old bank/ credit card/ statements & bills,
- old and tatty clothes,
- wobbly shoes
- broken toys
- expired cosmetics products
- old pillows
- that last bit in skin care bottles that i never got around to use, etc

Recycled or gave away
- clothes that the kids outgrew,
- bags that were no longer in fashion,
- electrical cords for the appliances long since thrown away,
- 2 fans that weren't able to oscillate,
- a sofa bed
- faded bedsheet sets etc.

Unfortunately the exercise also winded me.

While it is wise to slow down and take stock, cleaning out the house/ body/ mind of unwanted and toxic things/ habits/ emotions;

it is also important to do so periodically, not just once a year,

Because modern city-dwellers like us have no winter breaks.


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