Rats, Just My Luck
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Rats, Just My Luck

2008_02_07_Chinese_Rat.jpg
Photo by mappamundi.
Happy Year of the Rat! The Chinese are superstitious and like to start a new year on the right foot. Here are eight ways for luck, fortune, and prosperity. (Eight, in Cantonese, is considered lucky because it sounds similar to the word “wealth.” Four, however, is unlucky because it sounds like the verb “to die.”)


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Photo by oimax.

IOU No Mo’

Start the year off right by not owing any money. Repay your debts to symbolize starting with a clean slate. Find it hard to save money? Remember: with the reduction in GST since January 1, you’re literally saving pennies a day. (Not that you paid tax shopping at a Chinese mall to begin with. Everything in Chinese malls is totally legal! Legal! Legal! Legal!)

Put A Firecracker Up Yo’…

Firecrackers are lit on New Year’s Day to scare off evil spirits that prevent luck. No firecrackers handy? No problem. Equally loud and scary: terrible renditions of Dreamgirls songs. Head down to XO Karaoke (693 Bloor Street West), knock back a couple of beers, and sang, girlfriend, sang.

Break Me Off A Piece of That

Eat a piece of sweets on New Year’s Day to bring good luck and positivity for the year. Candy is dandy, but it’s too commonplace. Instead, head to Yung Sing Bakery on Baldwin and load up on egg tarts and sesame seed balls. Impress the owners by asking for “dan tat” and “jeen duy” respectively.
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Photo by chelseagirl from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Get Dirty

Well, not exactly. Technically, the tradition is don’t clean, as Chinese people believe that cleaning on New Year’s Day will sweep away your good luck for the year. (Similarly, washing hair, bathing, and showering are verboten. However, flushing is okay. Very okay.) If you can’t stand not cleaning, get out of the house and enjoy a meal at acclaimed restaurant Lai Wah Heen. (But be sure to flush there too.)

No Eye For You

It’s bad luck to discuss death in the New Year. So, stay far, far away from Asian horror remakes The Eye and One Missed Call. Honestly, you should stay away from them even if it weren’t Chinese New Year. (Check out the originals from Hong Kong and Japan instead… after today.)
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Photo of Ming-Na from Street Fighter.

Do The Red Thing

Wear something new today to start fresh for the year, preferably red, a lucky colour to the Chinese. A suggestion: head down to Chinatown for a qipao in red. Aside from Chinese New Year, the only other days you can wear a qipao are on your wedding day, on Hallowe’en, or when you’re fighting M. Bison.

No More Pokes

Stay away from sharp objects, like knives and scissors, as the Chinese believe that you can cut your luck away. No hair cuts. No scrapbooking. No brises.

Open Wide

Open your windows to let the breeze—and the luck—in. (So, for those keeping score at home: luck comes in via fresh air, candy, the colour red, and the number eight, but leaves via the trash can, the drain, your front door, and evil spirits.) This one might work better in climates not undergoing winter storm warnings. Then again, no one ever said getting lucky was easy.

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