5 Chinese New Year's Traditions To Attract Good Fortune And Clear Your Bad Karma

Here’s how to set the tone for a positive and prosperous year.

January 26, 2017
chinese new year lantern
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So you didn’t give up chocolate or intensify your exercise yet… so what? Those all-or-nothing resolutions you made earlier this month had failure written all over them. But don’t beat yourself up—consider it practice for the Chinese New Year on January 28.

Yes, it’s still a time for starting anew, but instead of those lose-weight, spend-less, exercise-more promises that can leave you feeling empty, the Chinese New Year is more about balance and setting a positive tone for the year.

Here, we asked Chinese wellness experts—from doctors to herbalists to acupuncturists—how they’re ringing in the year of the rooster. Lucky for you, ditching chocolate isn’t mentioned once. 

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chinese dumplings
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Eat some delicious dumplings

“I partake in the Chinese tradition of eating dumplings, which symbolize abundance, because they look like money bags. In China, you make dumplings at midnight on New Year’s Eve and eat them with your family to ring in the New Year. Chinese culture is all about symbolism in the everyday, so dumplings start your year off with the concept of prosperity—and they’re delicious!” 
Sandra Lanshin Chiu, acupuncturist, herbalist and owner of Treatment by Lanshin in Brooklyn

Related: Here’s How To Fold Classic Pot Stickers

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Commit to a calming practice

“The Chinese New Year always reminds me to think about how well my qi—the vital energy that moves through our bodies—is flowing. [Stagnating qi can manifest itself as being tired or stressed.] So for this next year, I'm committed to a daily meditation practice. Exercise is easy for me, but a breath-focused meditation is harder—and this type of meditation is so important for strengthening and moving qi.”
Monique Wheeler, acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist in Chicago

Related: 5 Morning Meditations To Set Yourself Up For A Fantastic Day

living room
De-clutter your home

“To prepare for the Chinese New Year, there is the tradition of cleaning the house, clearing any lingering bills from the prior year, and basically making every thing clean in your life so you begin the year with a clean slate. But on actual New Year's Day, there is no cleaning or sweeping, as you don't want to ‘sweep away’ any good luck or blessings coming in on the first day.”
June Cheng, Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist in California

Related: 13 Tips Personal Organizers Use To Keep Their Own Clutter Under Control

foggy morning
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Purge negative thoughts

“The Chinese New Year brings a great opportunity for change. The way I like to celebrate is by cleaning out clutter, both mentally and physically. This means letting go of things as well as negative thoughts, which helps to make space for new ideas and opportunities. It’s also important to slow down and spend time connecting with those we love.”
Beth Hooper, NYC-based acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist

sharing wine with friends
Surround yourself with good people

“This Chinese New Year is a transition from a monkey year, which is yang, to a rooster year, which is yin. All that yang energy made the monkey year lively, and I’m hoping that the yin energy of a rooster year will bring some calm. Chickens and roosters are sociable creatures and flock together, so I’ll be celebrating by gathering with a few like-minded friends at home for a quiet evening. We’ll cook, chat, and set our intentions; and because it’s a yin fire year, we’ll burn some candles.”
Jill Blakeway, doctor of Chinese medicine, founder of the Yinova Center