2014: Year of the Wood Horse

Bright red lanterns, Chinese songs, lucky charms, lucky colors, assorted fruits and tikoy – these are just some of the elements that will give you a festive mood.
The Chinese New Year, or as locals call it Lunar New Year, is usually celebrated on January 31. The festival usually starts with the new moon and ends on the full moon after 15 days. Other countries also celebrate the Lunar New Year, which is also called Spring Festival.
The Chinese astrology calendar is a combination of the Yin-Yang, Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, and the 12 animals. The year 2014 or the Year of the Wood Horse is said to be filled with high-spirits, excitement, surprises, romance, and adventures. And according to experts those born in the year of the Rooster, Horse, Rabbit and Rat, will have a good year of wealth and success.
With the presence of wood energy, Earth tones like green and brown color scheme are believed to attract positive energy. Jewelries with natural crystals like jade green, agate, green tourmaline, malachite.
Earth and Water are factors that contribute to the growth of Wood. Thus the colors blue and black, and earthly elements that represent Water and Earth respectively are still considered good luck.
This celebration is centered in feasts, family reunions and superstitions. The Lunar New Year is characterized by lanterns, firecrackers and the dragon, an important symbol in the Chinese culture. The popular Dragon Dance, which is characterized by a dragon mascot with bold features and long body, moves like waves takes place in public places. It is believed to bring luck and drive away bad spirits. Red packets of money called lai see, or angpao, are given to children.
Chinese culture believes that color red is associated with luck and prosperity. Legend has it that a mythical beast, which once threatened villages during the Lunar New Year, was warded off by the color red.
Feng Shui is also practiced during the Lunar New Year to achieve the good flow of fortune in homes. According to Feng Shui consultants, it is wise to have a prosperity basket in homes contains a god of money, a pineapple and gold coins. Chinese also believe that it is important to decorated homes with live plants and flowers, as this symbolize new beginning. Plants that bloom during Lunar New Year signify prosperity.
Traditional dishes prepared are long noodles, like pancit, for longevity; tikoy or sweet rice cakes – one of the oldest Chinese dishes, for unity; chicken for fortune; fish for prosperity; seaweed for wealth; orange and tangerines for abundant happiness. The amount of food prepared symbolizes the abundance for the household.
The Chinese culture is also well-known for its superstitious beliefs, which other races have adapted as well. Cleaning should be done before the Lunar New Year and not the day itself as they might sweep away the good fortune. Also cleaning tools should be kept out of sight. At midnight, doors and windows should be opened to welcome the New Year and to allow the old year to go out. No sharp objects should not be used and must be kept out of sight as it can sever good fortune. Taking a bath during the Lunar New Year should be avoided because doing so on the day can wash away good luck. All debts should be settled – superstition has it that when one begins the new year in debt, one will also end the year in debt.
Experts say that the horse represents victory; therefore in general they believe that this year will definitely be a good one. Every country has its own culture and beliefs and this celebration has given the Chinese culture an identity that has lived on for thousands of years. Wearing the lucky colors, charms are believed to attract good fortune and following good advice will help maximize luck. There’s no harm in trying all these tips, superstitions and traditions; however it is also important to always be reminded that success lies not only in these, but in one’s hard work and determination.
(Sources: http://manilatimes.net/chinese-new-year-lucky-fashionable-colors-of-2014/71016/; http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/2014ChineseHoroscope.htm; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-arias-de-cordoba/2014-the-year-of-the-wood_b_4612661.html; http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/feature/2013/12/25/2014-year-wooden-horse-320385)


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