CHINESE NEW YEAR (2)
Celebrating 15 days of Good Fortune
The Chinese celebration of the Lunar New Year continues through the initial fifteen days, culminating in the night of the Full Moon. These fifteen days signify the year's first waxing cycle of the Moon so they are considered very auspicious days. Keeping one's temper sweet and one's face always smiling will ensure a very sweet year ahead. Traditionally, this is also the time to perform specific rituals and observe certain traditions that are said to ensure good fortune for the family throughout the entire year.
The house should already have been decorated with auspicious symbols and auspicious affirmations such as "Your wealth has arrived," "Here comes the Wealth God," or "The year is flowering in abundance".
On New Year's Day, every family member should wake up early. Wear new clothes and new shoes to symbolically enter the New Year with a fresh new energy, leaving last year's stale energy behind. Greet your parents and everyone with auspicious words and a smiling face. Start the day meditating and say prayers at the altar.
The first meal of the day should be "sweet" so that you symbolically start the year with a sweet mouth, then all through the year, your speech will have persuasive power. Eating something sweet and sticky, such as the "Lian Gao" or sweet sticky cake, will be even more auspicious. Serve the sweet tea to every member of the family to ensure that every word emitting from their mouths is sweet and brings only happy news. It is a good idea to go vegetarian on the first day of New Year.
The first day is a good day to open the house to invite guests who bring auspicious Yang energy into the home. Guests should always bring some mandarin oranges to convey wishes of prosperity. The exchange of red envelopes containing lucky money during the New Year begins on the first day. Red envelopes are traditionally given to young children, to unmarried visitors as well as one's employees who come and pay their respects with their families. Many people observe the red envelope tradition all through the fifteen days of the New Year. It is said that the more red envelopes you give, the more money you will receive during the year. Red envelopes with lucky money are also given for other happiness occasions, such as birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation, throughout the year.
There should be an array of "sweet" foods, cakes, pies and biscuits laid out on a table laid with red cloth. There should also be a big supply of mandarin oranges, which signify gold. Fresh growing narcissus plants also create excellent growth energy during the New Year, as do hanging red lanterns.
Everyone should wear red garments on the New Year day. This is an auspicious day for doing everything, and those wishing to throw a big party to bring in Yang energy should do so, as it is a good day to hold an auspicious happiness occasion. The more people you invite into your house, the better.
The first day is not a good day to drive out of town or travel. Better to stay at home. Invite guests to your home because the act of bringing goodwill and presents to the home activates good luck. A shower of light rain on the New Year day is said to be most auspicious.
The second day is when married daughters should return to their own families to pay her respect to her folks. This is also a correct day for making prayers to ancestors if you have an ancestral worship altar in the home. This is not a good day to go visiting, but to stay at home enjoying the New Year.
The third day is a good day for sons-in-law to pay homage to their parents-in-law. Bring offerings of mandarin oranges and sweet foods. Parents should give red envelopes filled with auspicious money to their sons-in-law. The third day is also a good day to propose marriage or to get married. The third day is not a good day to travel or go clubbing. It is not a good day to throw a party to celebrate. The best thing to do is to stay home to create valuable Yang Chi for the house.
The fourth day is an auspicious day to open the office, business after the main New Year holidays. Many Chinese businesses however continue to stay closed to let their workers enjoy a longer (paid) holiday period. This is also an excellent day for parents to pray for good grades and knowledge for their children. This is the day when the Education God is said to listen to petitions of this kind. Children accompanying their parents to the temple on this day should carry some offerings to make prayers for wisdom and a good mind, and attract good teachers to their lives.
The sixth day is one of the best days for visiting friends and relatives. It is equally excellent for going to the temple to offer prayers for good fortune and good health.
The 15th day, also called Lantern Festival, is a very important day as it is the day of the first Full Moon of the Year. It is always significant and is a day of merrymaking and joyous celebration. This is the night when it is most auspicious to partake of a banquet of prosperity, a night to party and make merry. For those not yet married, especially young maidens, it is said that this is the night to invoke the blessings of the Moon Goddess, so that they may find their real true love.
During the auspicious fifteen days, one of the best things to do is go to a temple to make offerings and prayers for good health and happiness. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, is celebrated with the temple's "Peace and Light" lanterns, cultural performances, lion and dragon dances, martial arts, vegetarian snacks, chanting services and other festivities. Check their schedules before you go.
For all cultures throughout the world, I hope for a New Year filled with wisdom, love, peace, freedom and creativity. And, I also hope that your dreams for a more wholesome life can come true.
Year of Pig, 2007 (Fire): 2/18/2007 - 2/6/2008
Year of Rat, 2008 (Earth): 2/7/2008 - 1/25/2009
Year of Ox, 2009 (Earth): 1/26/2009 - 2/13/2010
Year of Tiger, 2010 (Metal): 2/14/2010 - 2/2/2011
Year of Rabbit, 2011 (Metal): 2/3/2011 - 1/22/2012
Year of Dragon, 2012 (Water): 1/23/2012 - 2/9/2013
Year of Snake, 2013 (Water): 2/10/2013 - 1/30/2014
Year of Horse, 2014 (Wood): 1/31/2014 - 2/18/2015
Year of Sheep, 2015 (Wood): 2/19/2015 - 2/7/2016
Year of Monkey, 2016 (Fire): 2/8/2016 - 1/27/2017
Year of Rooster, 2017 (Fire): 1/28/2017 - 2/15/2018
Year of Dog, 2018 (Earth): 2/16/2018 - 2/4/2019
Year of Pig, 2019 (Earth): 2/5/2019 - 1/24/2020