Ancient ways of welcoming lunar New Year
Preparations for the lunar New Year traditionally started well in advance of New Year’s Day. The seven days before New Year’s Eve were set aside for the annual housecleaning， or the “sweeping of the grounds.” Every corner of the house had to be cleaned for the new year.
Spring couplets，written in black ink on large vertical scrolls of red paper，were put on the walls or on both sides of gateways. These couplets， short poems written in classical Chinese，were expressions of good wishes for the family in the coming year.
In addition， symbolic flowers and fruits were used to decorate the house， and colorful New Year pictures were placed on the walls.
In rural areas， after the housecleaning， it was time to bid farewell to the Kitchen God. The Kitchen God was regarded as the guardian of the family hearth. By tradition， the Kitchen God left the house on the 23rd day of the last month to report to heaven on the behavior of the family and would return on the first day of the New Year. On the evening of the 23rd day，the family would give the Kitchen
On the last day of the old year， everyone was busy either preparing food， or in going to the barbers and getting tidied up for New Year’s Day. Tradition stipulated that all food be prepared in advance so sharp implements， such as knives and scissors， could be put away to avoid cutting the “luck” of the New Year. The kitchen and well were not to be disturbed on the first day of the New Year. On New Year’s Day， the children were given little red envelopes with good luck money inside. On New Year’s Day， people would put on new clothes and their best behavior. It was considered improper to tell a lie， raise one’s voice， use indecent language， or break anything on the first day of the year.