Well worth reading thisÂ talkÂ about the turn of the 20th century Hong Kong. A quote of relevance to the Lunar New Year:
A respectable Chinaman must begin the New Year free from debt, so that amongst the trades people there is great activity, collecting in their accounts, and discharging their own liabilities. The last day of the year the Chinese streets are lined with stalls, selling goods of all descriptions; and the tradition is that they will make alarming sacrifices in order to draw in the money. But this is a delusion and a snare, as they are quite well aware of the universal love of making a cheap bargain among all nationalities, and so they prepare goods specially; they even make quantities of crockery to appear thousands of years old, with innumerable cracks, and bits chipped off, to beguile the curiosity hunter. The streets are thronged with purchasers; everyone buys a pot of flowers, for it is a good omen amongst the Chinese to have plants in flower at that season, and the flowers said plants are everywhere in gorgeous profusion of blossoms.
FYI This speech was given to the Manchester Geographical Society at Finchwood, Marple, on Saturday, June 30th, 1900, at 6 p.m.