"But nowadays we keep our doors open for prayers up to midnight for safety reasons"
2. Sweeping the house from the outside to the inside
Aside from praying for ancestors, houses are thoroughly cleaned up ahead of the Chinese New Year. Windows will be wiped down, surfaces dusted, and old junk cleared away ahead of the festive occasion.
As with the custom of keeping the doors or gates open, this gesture is rife with symbolism.
"Getting rid of junk and clutter is believed to make space for good luck in the coming year. Sweeping away dust symbolizes clearing away bad luck that accumulated over the past year," explained Hartanto. Lili agreed.
However, she pointed out that "cleaning or sweeping the house [on the day of the Chinese New Year] is taboo, as we are brushing off any luck that comes our way. If we have to sweep the house, we sweep from the outside into the house to attract more luck," Lili added.
"Any dust accumulating on the Chinese New Year should be left for at least two days," she noted. "The idea behind this ritual is not to waste any luck coming to the house's inhabitants."
3. Fish, chicken, pork and layer cake dishes
When everyone is back home, they are treated to a traditional Chinese New Year feast. Usually prepared by the matriarch, this feast consists of dozens of dishes. But Lili said the foods invariably feature three meats, namely fish, pork, and chicken.