Out with the old and in with the new
Would you like to celebrate the New Year all over again? Now’s your chance: The Chinese New Year starts on January 31, 2014, kicking off the Year of the Wood Horse, so we’ve rounded up some ancient Chinese Feng Shui tips to attract good fortune!
Each year, Chinese New Year celebrations begin on the eve of the first New Moon of the Chinese calendar — a different day every year, usually in late January or early February — and end with the Full Moon 15 days later. So in 2014, Chinese New Year festivities run from January 31 – February 14.
Chinese New Year Feng Shui makeover
In China, celebrations focus on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, much like in Western cultures … but the Chinese start getting ready for the New Year weeks in advance by giving their homes a Feng Shui makeover.
The Chinese believe that bad energy can get stuck in spaces that are messy, dirty or too cluttered … so the first step in any Feng Shui makeover is to make room for good energy by giving your home a thorough cleaning. If you have a lot of junk laying around that you never use, now’s the time to haul it to a thrift store or a recycler.
Place platefuls of fresh and dried fruits around the house as symbols of abundance. Blooming plants are also considered to bring good luck, and in some climates it won’t be long before you can replant them outside. These items also make good Chinese New Year gifts.
China is one of many places in the world that welcome the New Year with fireworks, because explosions are thought to scare away evil spirits. Even if you aren’t keen on lighting them, some Chinese fireworks are beautiful and you can use them to decorate your home.
Get your affairs in order
Your next step is to give your finances a once-over. Pay all of your neglected bills and organize systems to keep track of your finances in the coming year. In America, it’s not too early to start getting organized for taxes.
Next take stock of your personal life. If you have any disagreements or ill feelings with anyone at work or amongst family and friends, now’s a good time to do what you can to clear the air. Simple apologies may be in order, or perhaps just dropping a dispute all together.
New Year’s Eve
Chinese families gather on this joyous evening for a special ceremony honoring Heaven and Earth, along with the gods of the household and the family’s ancestors. At the New Year’s banquet table, places are sometimes set for ancestors for the feast known as “surrounding the stove.”
Traditional foods include Eight Treasures Rice, wonton soup and chicken, duck, fish and pork dishes. Whether the celebration is at home or in a restaurant, it’s usually a huge feast with plenty of leftovers, because the Chinese believe it’s bad luck to cook on New Year’s Day.
At midnight, every window and door of the home is flung open to send out the old year and welcome in the new. Firecrackers are set off as the family rejoices together.
New Year’s Day
Since the Chinese believe that whatever happens on New Year’s Day impacts the rest of the year, superstitions abound. Most of them evolved centuries ago and not everyone believes in them, but they’re easy to follow, so why not partake? Here are a few “dos”:
- Do wear new clothes and the color red to express joy and happiness
- Do visit your relatives, neighbors and friends and wish them well
- For children and unmarried people without jobs, do give them red envelopes filled with lucky money
And some don’ts:
- Don’t wash your hair because you could wash away your good luck
- Don’t sweep the floor — you may sweep away your good fortune
- Don’t talk about death or tell ghost stories
- Don’t wear black
- Don’t use knives and scissors if not necessary — you could cut off opportunities that are coming your way
- Don’t borrow or lend money or you will be doing so all year
Lanterns for prosperity
On the fifth day of the New Year, the Chinese believe the gods of prosperity come down from the heavens. Some businesses set off fireworks and have dancing dragons perform to attract good fortune. The 15th day — the Full Moon — is known as The Festival of Lanterns and marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. People typically light lanterns throughout the streets and write poems and riddles to share for entertainment.
THE YEAR OF THE WOOD HORSE 2014
OFF TO THE RACES
The new Moon on January 30 at 11:20 pm PST (but listed as January 31 in many calendars) begins the year of the Wood Horse. Chinese New Year is a spring festival that begins on the second new Moon after Winter Solstice, with the Sun and Moon in Aquarius. This new Moon also starts the month of the Fire Tiger making energy very strong and lively as Horse year begins, a clear departure from the slower energy of the previous Water Snake year 2013.
is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the more far away and off the beaten path the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But you have to act fast in a Horse year.
On a global scale, expect some world economies to become stronger while others experience economic chaos and collapse. Under Horse’s strong influence there is no middle ground. (The time for middle-ground diplomacy and planning was last year in Water Snake 2013.) Anticipate extremes in stock markets, fluctuation of prices, and general chaos in all things financial. There will be wars, battles, and skirmishes all over the world.
Middle class economies are developing with emerging markets in many places including Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, and India. But there will also be protests for fair development, even wars. Peace can be restored in Wood Sheep year 2015 but Wood Horse 2014 will be a wild ride as the world changes, and changes fast.
READY SET GO
Who should be a player and take big risks this year? If you just do what you want like a Horse, you could end up broke at the end of this Horse year! The impulsive way of doing things in a Horse year is not the best year for everyone. For example, the spontaneous energy of Horse year brings challenges to the thoughtful Rat who is Horse’s opposite.
Fast action flows just right for you if you are compatible with Horse energy by having Horse, Tiger, Dog, or Sheep in your Chinese Four Pillars chart of animal year, month, day, and hour. For info about your Four Pillars chart, schedule an astrology reading with me. But if you do not have lucky animal signs in your Four Pillars birth chart, maybe for you in this Horse year it might be better to just follow along with the herd. Let others be the risk takers or whistle blowers. You might benefit by sitting in the sidelines and watching the Horse race in front of you, especially if you have Rat or Ox in your Four Pillars chart of animal year, month, day, and hour. For you, stay smart and thrifty, hang on to what you already have, and not rebel like spirited Horse.
Keep in mind this year that Horse energy is free spirited, wild, willful, and independent. Horse has a refined instinct that acts fast, on the spot, unlike Horse’s opposite the Rat who thinks and plans before acting. The time for pondering and planning was 2013 Snake year. Horse year is time to act fast, buy that home, launch that business, travel the world, make a big purchase, get a promotion at work, have a breakthrough – take a leap and fly. If it’s right, then there’s nothing to think about. Just follow instincts. Even if you miss the mark, you’ll have all of Wood Sheep year 2015 to get cozy and enjoy life’s comforts in all their artistic forms.