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Ways to Greet the New Year

A sampling of Chinese traditions

Here are traditions I remember from my childhood in China. Try a few of them for good luck.

Children should bow to pay respect to elders. In return, give them red bags containing money -- for prosperity in the year ahead.

Clean your house and get rid of old, unused items to make room for the new.

Pay bills and collect debts.

Children should finish homework, wash hair, get a haircut, and have a set of new clothes ready for New Year's Day.

Put out a red tablecloth and cushion covers. Hang red and gold banners and lanterns with Chinese good wishes written on them. Display Chinese dragons to ward off evil sprits.

Exchange treats and fruit with loved ones. Candies are for a sweet New Year. Melon seeds and candied melon represent growth and prosperity. Oranges and tangerines stand for instant wealth and health.

Set off firecrackers to frighten away evil spirits.