Two Customs

Customs and traditions exist everywhere and are particularly abundant during holidays and festivals.

I don't have any specific customs to share, but there are still customs that my friends and neighbors nearby adhere to: On the first day of the lunar new year, one cannot eat meat; from the first to the seventh day, one cannot wash their hair.

These two customs seem to have no clear origin. I can understand the reasoning behind not turning off the lights during the first day of the lunar new year ── a new year should be bright, driving away darkness and evil spirits, and there are reasonable explanations for that. However, I cannot comprehend the prohibition on eating meat. Could it be that our ancestors had a preference for halal food? Or were they influenced by Buddhism?

Not being able to eat meat on the first day means that the sumptuous feast on New Year's Eve must either be completely finished or left to spoil ── especially in the past when there were no refrigerators ── especially in the southern regions where the weather during the Spring Festival is already spring-like. This year, when I visited a friend's house, I was invited to join their meal, and the table was filled with vegetarian dishes: greens, mushrooms, bamboo shoots... Fortunately, they were cooked well, otherwise, after a day of hustle and bustle, I wouldn't have had the appetite to eat, and that would have been a problem.

Not being able to wash one's hair from the first to the seventh day is even more absurd. As a guy, I can't stand not washing my hair for a day; as for the girls I know, three days without washing their hair is already the limit, let alone not washing it for seven days, that would be unbearable.

In Shero's family, they have this custom, and around the fifth day, she would scratch her head while complaining to me about wanting to sneak out and wash her hair, and she can't let her mom find out about it ── in fact, she has been doing this for the past few years. I thought to myself that this custom should have been discontinued in her generation, which would be a good thing.

In reality, everyone knows that these customs have no logical basis and hinder daily life, but no one stands up to oppose them ── because these are things that our ancestors have decreed, and anything decreed by our ancestors must be followed without any deviation, it's just that rigid.

To say that China doesn't have the same kind of faith as the West is a misconception, at least when it comes to our ancestors, the Chinese people's devotion is no less than the West's devotion to God.

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