What are the preparations Wang Lung does for the New Year in Good Earth?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To prepare for the New Year, Wang Lung first goes into town to the candlemaker's shop and buys "squares of red paper on which were brushed in gilt ink the letter for happiness and some with the letter for riches".  He attaches these squares on his farm utensils to bring luck in the New Year.  He also puts long strips of red paper "brushed with mottoes of good luck" upon the doors of his house, places a fringe of red paper cut into a flower pattern over his doorway, and buys red paper to make new dresses for the gods, before whom he burns a little incense "for the sake of the New Year".  Wang Lung then buys two red candles to burn before the picture of a god, and pork fat and white sugar so that his wife can make moon cakes.  The cakes are so fine that ordinary people like Wang Lung and his family do not eat them; they are only to be eaten by the rich, like the people of the House of Hwang.

Wang Lung and his wife O-lan dress in their good clothes of black cotton cloth on the first day of the New Year to receive his uncle and neighbors who come calling with food and drink.  His wife arrays his young son in red, and she and the little boy go on the second day of the New Year to take the delicate cakes she has made with the ingredients Wang Lung has provided, and to present the little boy at her old place of employment, the House of Hwang (Chapter 5).