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Sample Essay

Chinese civilization dates back thousands of years and, therefore, has its own long list of dos and donts in terms of superstitions.  The list is so long and extensive that I am not sure if anybody has ever managed to follow all of them.  At the end of the day, I think people just tend to pick and choose the ones that seem authentic and easier to follow.  My personal favorites are the ones that surround the Chinese New Year.  It is not just one or two, but a collection of superstitions built around this festival.  Building on each other, they warn of death and poverty on the one hand and offer promises of prosperity and health on the other.

The most interesting superstition, however, involves cleaning – or to be more precise, no cleaning at all – on the Chinese New Year’s Day.   As a family, this means that we are all required to help in cleaning the house before New Year’s Day, especially making sure that our individual rooms are properly cleaned and have no clothes, books or other objects aimlessly lying around the room.  All this however had to be done before the New Year deadline, and once done there is to be absolutely no cleaning on New Year’s Day.  My parents would never fail to remind us that while the house was being cleaned to welcome good luck and prosperity in, we should avoid all cleaning on New Year’s Day as we may end up sweeping away good luck.  For the same reason, all brooms and mops had to be kept out of sight.

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