The Chinese, or more correctly, the Lunar New Year is the annual celebration that coincides with the first New Moon of the year. For many Chinese and Asians, this is a very auspicious time – a birthday, actually, of the New Year. This birthday, when observed correctly, is believed to usher in good luck and abundance all year long.
The Chinese calendar is based on a lunar and solar calendar. Under this system, a calendar month usually lasts 29.5 days, so over a period of years, there is a lag. Thus, the Chinese insert an extra month every few years, and which also explains why the New Year is on a different date each year, unlike the solar calendar, which is a fixed date each year.
There are many, many traditions associated with the Lunar New Year. One delightful belief is that if one of your plants blooms on New Year’s Day, you will have prosperity in the coming year. Look around your yard and garden. It’s possible you have something blooming right now. Of course, here in the northern hemisphere, it is winter, and most of our yards are looking pretty drab.
Even if you don’t have something blooming, ensure that you have something in your home that has blossoms, such as flowering branches, bulbs, or flowers like potted mums that will last.
The Chinese New Year is Symbolic
The Chinese New Year is full of symbolism for ushering out the old and ushering in the new. Among the traditions is a ban on cooking in the kitchen on the first day of the Lunar New Year. This is because it’s considered bad luck to have sharp objects such as knives and scissors out.
Cooking – and having to cut things – could possibly cut off the good fortune for the rest of the year. So, why not give the kitchen a rest and take your family out for your meals this Lunar New Year?
However, the Lunar New Year isn’t just about the cultural aspects of the year. In feng shui, it also represents a change in the new animal year, from rat to ox, for example.
The Chinese and many Asians typically celebrate for the first 15 days of the New Year.
Although you may not have time to celebrate that long, simply preparing in advance for the New Year will help you to usher in prosperity and abundance at the time of the New Moon – a time believed by astrologers around the world to have a special power to make whatever you want to happen come true.
A fun fact is that the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, which is also a full moon, is the Chinese equivalent of the western Valentine’s Day. Because it’s always a full moon on the 15th day, it makes the day of love extra romantic.
Here are some ideas, and a schedule, to help you observe – and make the most of – the Lunar New Year.
One or two days beforehand:
- Do a thorough cleaning. Sweeping and cleaning on the first day of the New Year is considered bad luck because it can sweep all the good luck out the door. The god of luck is said to avoid dirty houses. So keep your house clean all year long! Here’s a listing of areas to focus your cleaning efforts.
- Make New Year Preparations. Organize, buy a new outfit, clean, declutter, re-arrange and refresh your decor.
- Purchase flowers. Bulbs, such as daffodils or hyacinths, are especially auspicious. Display these bulbs or other flowers such as azalea, pussy willow, lotus, or peony.
- Set out a big bowl of oranges. Oranges are symbols of gold and having a bowl full of mandarins or navel oranges is great feng shui and adds auspicious gold energy. Or, bring in a small orange or kumquat tree to your house. These are also considered very auspicious. Hang Chinese coins from the branches on red ribbons.
- Make annual feng shui placements. Put out remedies and enhancements. Have feng shui remedies from the past year? Put them outdoors in the sunshine to cleanse them or wash them in saltwater.
On the day of the New Year:
- Go out to eat for your meals. For breakfast, have a big glass of orange juice (oranges represent gold). And if you just have to eat at home, make it finger foods. Cutting and chopping food represent cutting your luck – and work.
- Eat dumplings, sweets, and special foods. Enjoy a fun movie, a meal out, and be sure to enjoy some dumplings, the traditional good luck food for the Lunar New Year.
- Wear new clothes today. New clothes represent the new that you want to be bringing into your life. Put on something red for an extra boost!
- Have a good day. The Chinese believe it’s bad to start the New Year by swearing, yelling at the kids, or getting angry or upset. So, take the day off from worry and anxiety. It might not be a bad idea to avoid the newspaper or the TV news! Rent some funny movies to invite fun and enjoyment into your house for the new year.
- Write wishes for the New Year. Write wishes on ribbons or paper and affix them to a tree to let them blow in the wind, much like a Tibetan prayer flag.