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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Celebrating Chinese New Year: A Rich Chinese Tradition

Feb 28, 2017 10:50PM

by Rene Ng, DOM, AP, L.Ac.  

 

The beginning of 2017 brings special meaning to all Chinese in the world, whether in the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada or anywhere else in the world. Chinese New Year 2017 recently took place on January 28, bringing in the year of the Rooster. Welcoming in the New Year bears significant importance in Chinese culture and represents over four thousand years of rich culture, history and superstition. In fact, 2017 is the 4715th Chinese year.  

 

The Lunar Calendar  

Unlike Western civilization, which uses the solar calendar, the Chinese uses a different system called the lunar calendar, based on lunar cycles or moon phases. Each Chinese month begins with a new moon and ushers in a full moon every 15 days. Science estimates that a new moon comes every 29-and-a-half days, so Chinese calendar months always contain 29 or 30 days. Each month is named after particular natural characteristics and bears great significance toward the planning of life events.  

As food plays an essential part in sustaining a healthy life in Chinese culture and is used as preventative medicine, months are frequently named according to the special harvests that occur during that month. At the same time, some of them are named to indicate special energetic changes typical for those months. Here are some examples:  

  • Month One, known as Zhēngyuè (正月 Start Month), signifies the beginning of a new year.  

  • Month Two, known as Xìngyuè (杏月 Apricot Month), signifies the apricot trees which blossom during this period of time and are commonly used to alleviate coughing and wheezing.  

  • Month Three, known as Táoyuè (桃月 Pear Month), signifies the pear trees which blossom during this period of time and can be used to prevent lung issues and allergies, while boosting immune function. 

  • Month Ten, known as Yángyuè (阳月 Yang Month), signifies the Yang energy which is believed to be especially during strong this period of time.  

 

In China, the lunar calendar is widely used to plan out life events like weddings, moving, taking a new job, having a baby, making an investment, travelling and more. The Chinese believe that picking the right day and month significantly increases the good fortune, success rate, and positive returns for the event in question. 

Books that detail the significance of each day and month are published annually and used by families to make such determinations. Fortune tellers, Feng Shui specialists and others are hired to interpret these books and determine the best date for individual events. Red and gold––traditional colors representing happiness and prosperity in Chinese culture––decorate banners with good luck and well wishes which are then placed on walls throughout the homes and offices to benefit the business and the household during the new year.  

 

The Spring Festival  

Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival and boasts over 4000 years of history. This is the most important annual event for Chinese people and a time for family reunions. The Spring Festival also the longest public holiday which celebrated over 15 days.  

During this period of time, most commercial businesses are closed to allow employees to spend time with their families. This period of time also presents with superstition, as the Chinese believe that a good Spring festival will bring about good fortune for the rest of the Chinese year. Each day of the Spring Festival bears different significance. Let’s take a look at the significance of each of this year’s 15 days of Spring Festival:  

  • fifth day before Chinese New Year  

  • fourth day before Chinese New Year  

  • second and third days before Chinese New Year  

  • last day before Chinese New year  

  • first day of Chinese New Year  

  • second day of Chinese New Year 

  • third and fourth days of Chinese New Year  

  • fifth day of Chinese New Year  

  • sixth day of Chinese New Year  

  • Worshipping the Food Gods to give thanks for the past year and blessings for the new year  

  • Comprehensive and thorough house cleaning to get rid of old junk  

  • Shopping for items for Spring Festival  

  • Chinese New Year’s Eve 

  • Decorating home and businesses with good luck posters  

  • Family reunion dinners (Chinese equivalent of Thanksgiving dinner) 

  • Public holidays officially begin  

  • Setting off fireworks 

  • Family gettogethers at the parents’ house 

  • Eating fish (to signify abundance) and noodles (to signify long life)  

  • Visiting family members 

  • Worshipping the God of Fortune 

  • Married daughters return home to their parents 

  • Praying to ancestors and gods for guidance and protection in the new year  

  • Visiting gravesites and remembering the dead  

  • Welcoming the God of Fortune into one’s home  

  • Visiting friends and classmates  

  • Businesses begin to reopen  

  • Visiting temples and places of worships  

  • Receiving a fortune telling  

  • Seventh day of Chinese New Year 

  • eighth to fourteenth days of Chinese New Year  

  • fifteenth day of Chinese New Yea 

  • Planning out the year based on the lunar calendar  

  • Visiting friends on “Day of Men” (人日 rén ) 

  • celebrating the birth of everyone  

  • First full moon of the new year, known as The Lantern Festival (元宵節 yuán xiāo jié); family reunion dinner and eating special rice dumplings in the shape of a moon;lantern displays and festivals during which children carry lanterns into the streets and temples  

 

Chinese New Year––Things Not to Do:  

As you can see, Chinese culture is steeped in superstition and folklore. It is critical to the Chinese to start the new year positively, from all aspects. They believe this increases or even ensures they will have a really good year. Here are some actions which are commonly avoided to help attain this objective 

  • Not to Do:  

  • Avoid breaking objects, as this indicates family and relationship breakups. 

  • Avoid taking medicine, as this indicates being sick all year. 

  • Avoid washing hair until past the first three days of the new year, as this indicates washing away wealth. 

  •  Avoid housecleaning until past the first three days of the new year, as this indicates washing away good luck. 

  • Avoid sweeping until past the first three days of the new year, as this also indicates washing away good luck. 

  • Avoid crying, as this indicates misfortune. 

  • Avoid lending or borrowing, as this indicates financial difficulties. 

  • Avoid swearing, as this indicates anger and loss of peace. 

  • Avoid mentioning death, as this indicates bad luck and even death. 

  • Avoid having no money in pockets, as this indicates poverty. 

  

Year of the Rooster––Outlook:  

In the Chinese horoscope, 2017 is the year of the Rooster. There are 12 animals in the Chinese horoscope, and they come around every 12 years. People born during the years 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 and 2017 have the rooster animal sign in their Chinese horoscope. However, if you were born in January or February of that year, check the lunar calendar to determine if you were born during the year of the Rooster or the Monkey (the animal year predating the Rooster).  

Transitioning from the previous animal year––the Monkey––to the year of the Rooster cannot be more opposite. The monkey is wellknown for its unpredictability and surprises, and we all are fully aware of what 2016 brought––tons of surprises, especially with the presidential elections. On the other hand, the Rooster is not one to like surprises and instead gravitates toward peace and minimum change. The year of the Rooster is one for impressions, so you should attempt to look your best this year.  

 You should remain clear on your intentions concerning business, love and finance. The rooster is a mostly predictable animal that does not like too much changes, and is protective of the hens and the family. However, when suddenly aroused and excited, the rooster can turn into an aggressive and feisty creature. Therefore, it’s wise to plan out your actions, investments and goals to avoid sudden changes, spurofthemoment decisions and reactiveness.  

This will be a tricky year to start out new businesses, so keep that in mind as well. Individuals born during the year of the Rooster will find this period of time to be potentially challenging, so risks need to be carefully thought out before being taken.  

 

Thoughts on Health  

If you were born during the year of the Rooster, you are also prone to health challenges this year. You are especially at risk for bleeding, so avoid dangerous sports and be watchful of accidents. Changes that affect your surroundings can also have a strong affect on your attitude and mental health which, in turn, can impact your entire well-being 

You should find ways to help reduce your mental stress and keep reminding yourself that changes are not necessarily negative. Changes can actually mean that something better is around the corner. If you don’t enter this frame of mind, this could turn out to an especially stressful and irritable year for you. And finally...may the year of the Rooster bless you with an abundance of good health, good fortune, dreams coming true and many wonderful memories. Gung Hei Fat Choy!  

 

Rene Ng, DOM, AP, L.Ac., is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist in Sarasota. One of the area’s most popular Acupuncturists, he is a four-time winner of Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” award. He has been able to help people suffering from a wide range of health challenges ranging from headaches, fatigue thyroid disorders and depression, to ailments such as cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia. For more information, call 941-773-5156 or email [email protected] 

 

Natural Awakenings of Sarasota March 2020 Digital Edition

 https://issuu.com/nasrq/docs/srq_march_2020_lr_web