Between Laba Festival, on the eighth day of the last lunar month, and Little New Year, on the twenty-third day, families throughout China undertake a thorough house cleaning, sweeping out the old in preparation for the New Year.
Why do people clean house during the last month of the year?
According to Chinese folk beliefs, during the last month of the year ghosts and deities must choose either to return to Heaven or to stay on Earth. It is believed that in order to ensure the ghosts and deities' timely departure, people must thoroughly clean both their persons and their dwellings, down to every last drawer and cupboard. Furthermore, as New Year's Eve approaches, all family affairs must be put in order, in order to ensure a fresh start in the new year. Spring Festival falls during the off season for farming, making this a convenient time of year for a thorough house cleaning.
New Year's cleaning includes organizing the yard, as well as scrubbing the doors, windows, and interior of the house. Old couplets and papercuts from the previous Spring Festival are taken down, and new window decorations, New Year's posters, and auspicious decorations are pasted up.
Editor: Xu Xinlei