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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hong Kong Series at CantoneseClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind holidays and observances in Hong Kong. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 23- The 28th day of the 12th month of the Lunar Calendar, or in Cantonese, 年廿八.
This day is also called "two days before Chinese New Year". On this day, all Chinese people do spring cleaning, or 大掃除. The 28th day was chosen to be cleaning day because in Cantonese, "28" sounds like "easy to get rich" or in Cantonese 易發. By the way, New Year’s Day on the lunar calendar falls in late February in the Gregorian calendar, and that’s why New Year’s Day is related to spring.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you- Do you know any other numbers that have special meanings in Chinese culture?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
There is a saying in Cantonese that goes, "On the 28th, wash away dirtiness." This is why people in Hong Kong do their spring cleaning on the 28th day of the 12th month on the lunar calendar. This is a traditional custom that has taken place since ancient times, because wealth does not enter dirty houses. Talking about cleaning, people in Hong Kong always talk about money and wealth. It’s because when the God of Wealth, or 財神, visits during Chinese New Year, it is said that he doesn't enter dirty homes. That’s why people clean before the New Year.
Whether the God of Wealth really exists or not, it is definitely a good idea to work on personal hygiene and household cleaning before New Year’s Day, so that you have a comfortable living environment and a fresh start. On this day, there are also some rules for sweeping. If someone had a very nice year, they should sweep towards the inside of the room before collecting and throwing the sweepings into the trash. This represents keeping the good fortune inside the home. On the contrary, if the past year was not so pleasant, one should sweep towards the door, wishing to keep the bad luck away from the home.
Other than house cleaning on the 28th day of the 12th month, one should also clean their own body from head to toe with a special cleaning product on this day. This product is pomelo leaves, or 碌柚葉 in Cantonese. Pomelo leaves are believed to possess the power to ward off evil spirits and eliminate bad luck.
Recently, their effectiveness has also been verified by modern scientists. Pomelo leaves contain natural flavonoids, and it’s known that these can effectively improve blood circulation, and are anti-aging and anti-inflammatory.
Some people wonder why the 28th is two days before Chinese New Year, because in the Gregorian calendar, there are three days—29th, 30th and 31st—before New Year’s Day. Unlike the western calendar, the lunar calendar does not have 31 days in its 12th month. It only has 30 days in the calendar, so there are only two days—the 29th and 30th—before New Year’s Day.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question- Do you know any other numbers that have special meanings in Chinese culture?
Other than the number eight which symbolizes "rich",
four and nine also have special meanings. The pronunciation of the number four, 四, is similar to the word meaning "death", 死, so Chinese people consider the number “four” to be related to death. The number nine or 九, has a similar pronunciation to the word 久, which means “long time,” so it’s considered positive because it’s related to “living a long life.”
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Is there a specific date set for spring cleaning in your country?
Leave us a comment at CantoneseClass101.com
We'll see you next time!

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Is there a specific date set for spring cleaning in your country?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:06 PM
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Hello robert groulx,


You are very welcome. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.


Kind regards,

利凡特

Team CantoneseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 10:30 PM
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thanks for the lesson


my favorite phrase is 碌柚葉


we do not celebrate this holiday


robert