Happy “Little New Year”!

Fireworks stands are on the corner and street vendors are selling auspicious red bunny panties — it can only mean one thing: Chinese New Year is coming!

Wednesday is 小年 (“little year”), when you’re supposed to make offerings to the Kitchen God (灶王爷), especially sweet, sticky offerings, so that his mouth will be glued shut and he won’t be able to report any of your family’s bad doings to the Jade Emperor in Heaven (or so that he’ll only report sweet things, or as a bribe to butter him up and make him more predisposed to give a good report).

The Kitchen God watches over the family fortunes. He leaves for Heaven every year on the 23rd day of the 12th month in the Chinese lunar calendar to report on the family and returns a week later, at which time the family will welcome him back with a fresh picture on the wall.

You can read about the legend behind the Chinese New Year Kitchen God traditions here, here and here (three parts), and see more about the history of “Little New Year” and its traditions and rituals here.

P.S. – Photos of lucky red bunny panties are on the way. With the tiger panties from last year I’ll have the whole Chinese zodiac in underwear form by 2021!

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