Cíjiù yíngxīn (辞旧迎新, farewell to the old, welcome the new). That’s what my Chinese husband said to me as we gathered the last of the dirty laundry to throw in the washing machines last night. We already scrubbed our entire apartment clean — I dusted, he vacuumed and washed all of the dishes. Now we wanted clean clothes too.
“You did this before?” he asked me as we walked to the laundry room.
“Nope, I never used to clean house for the New Year. Not before I met you.”
He smiled. “You’ve become more superstitious since you married me,” he said.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
I answered with ambivalence, but my actions spoke loud and clear. I was the one who suggested the laundry — John would have probably stopped after cleaning house. I wanted to make the eight-treasures rice for dessert on New Year’s Eve, because the words “eight” and “treasures” would promise us a more prosperous 2012. I bought the pork for the red-braised pork I cooked for John because it cost $8.08, an auspicious number. I even resolved to wear red, China’s most auspicious color, every single day from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day (I wear a red shirt as I type this).
Maybe I cared even more for superstition because of our recent challenges. In 2012, John and I will still have to fight against the discrimination. There’s no guarantee John will get an internship next year — something he needs to graduate, something we both want because it means we can finally move away from here to a more diverse metropolitan area. I almost never pray, but I’ve caught myself in meditation towards the skies, asking a higher power to deliver us into a better life. So I couldn’t help but turn to superstitions like some extra insurance, just in case, even if that rational part of me knew better.
Will this improve our fortunes in 2012? Who knows? But every time I mention something else superstitious I’ve done, John busts out laughing and flashes me a huge smile. Which makes me think, maybe that’s the real magic in superstition — to make your husband a little happier during hard times.
Has your relationship or your marriage made you more superstitious? If so, how?