扫尘的传说
Story of House Cleaning


Why do the Chinese do house cleaning when the Chinese New Year is coming? It is said that the ancient Chinese believed that each person was attached with San Shi Shen, an immortal being, who followed people like one’s shadow. San Shi Shen was fond of blackening human beings. He frequently defamed people in front of Emperor Jade, the king of all Chinese gods, and made Emperor Jade believe the man's world was the breeding ground of crime and dirtiness. One day, Shan Shi Shen reported to Emperor Jade that the human beings were cursing him and wanted to overthrow his power. Emperor Jade was thus enraged. He immediately ordered Shan Shi Shen to find out those who offended him, record their crime, and mark the offenders’ houses with cobwebs. Then he commanded Wang Ling Guan, a god in heaven, to descend to the man’s world on Chinese New Year Eve and kill those who had cobwebs under their eaves. Shan Shi Shen was very happy. He marked all the houses with cobwebs. The Kitchen Gods residing in the houses came to know his intention. They had a discussion and finally got the countermeasure. They made people clean the houses carefully before the Chinese New Year Eve. If a house was not clean enough, the Kitchen God would refuse to enter the house. Then on Chinese New Year Eve, when Wang Ling Guan came, he was surprised to find that the man’s world was harmonious, peaceful and clean and there was no cobweb. He went back to the Heaven and report what he had seen to Emperor Jade, who then realized Shan Shi Shen lied to him. At last, Shan Shi Shen was punished and imprisoned forever. And the convention was handed down from generation to generation.


扫尘
House Cleaning


After Kitchen God Worshipping, the Chinese people will start to sweep up the house. In China, it is a convention to do a thorough house cleaning before the Spring Festival. If you travel around China at that time, you will find the whole country, men and women, old and young, is busy with the house cleaning, washing whatever can be washed such as all sorts of utensils, all the bedding and curtains, etc. The cleaning often lasts for several days. You may be puzzled about why it lasts so long. It is because the cleaning symbolizes getting rid of the old rotten luck to make way for the new good future. Hence, the Chinese pay special attention to it. They often do the cleaning as carefully as possible. Moreover, you may get a subtle feeling that the Chinese people are making their great efforts to greet the coming holy Spring Festival.
 

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