Dear Gossips, 

Lunar New Year is ten days from now, on Friday, February 12. It will be the Year of the Ox. My ma has some thoughts on this in the days to come but since so many of us are in lockdown and some things require more planning and preparation than in previous years, with certain businesses closed or offering limited services, maybe an advance reminder would be helpful for traditions and customs. My focus is on Chinese cultural practices since that’s my background. Other East Asian cultures may have different approaches. 


Every year, BEFORE Lunar New Year, my ma tells me to get my hair cut and it’s a constant negotiation about how much to cut because I never want to cut off too much and she wants me to cut off enough to get rid of the old year. This is the point – you excise the previous year’s energy to welcome in the good luck of the new year. And, well, the way 2020 went, I feel like most of us should probably chop off as much of that sh-t as possible. I don’t know where people are getting their hair cut these days since I don’t go anywhere other than the butcher and to walk our dogs. Jacek, my husband, cuts my hair now. So either on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, he’ll be taking off three inches. If you need a few days to get an appointment or make arrangements with someone to get tested so that they can cut your hair or whatever logistical gymnastics that can be worked out, heads up you should make that happen. If there is no possible way that you can get a haircut, and I understand, not every is in a position to do so; consider if you can, then, a workaround – cut your nails, trim your eyebrows, shave, or if you’re Duana, you can try giving yourself layers (although not everyone is as talented at the self-cut as she is so do not hold me responsible for whatever you do to your hair). 


As always, it is recommended that we clean before the arrival of a new year. Good luck likes a clear path. So, you know, if you’re looking for something to do in between binge-watches this weekend, maybe it’s time to organise the kitchen cupboards, wipe down the baseboards, rent a deep cleaner for the carpets. Again, I’m pretty sure a lot of us want to rid ourselves of the year that was. The most thorough cleaning of the year should be done in the days before Lunar New Year – if, that is, you have time and energy. If you are a frontline worker, a healthcare worker, if you are a teacher, if you are exhausted by COVID, feng shui is not unreasonable, it will understand. Because feng shui ultimately is about the flow of energy, about the exchange and harvesting of luck. There is no better way to harvest and accumulate good luck than when you expend your energy helping others. 

More Lunar New Year tips in the next few days when my ma gets around to downloading them to me. Right now she’s preoccupied with her Buddha’s Feast and her Lunar New Year soups. God I wish she knew how to properly take pictures on her phone because she’d be great on Instagram. 

Yours in gossip,