Saturday, January 28, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Chinese New Year Begins--Year of the Rooster

The Chinese New Year 2017 begins January 28th. This year it is the year of the rooster. Every twelve years there is a Rooster year, beginning at Chinese New Year. A year of the Rooster always comes after a Monkey year and before a Dog year. Years of the Rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029.

2017 Is a Fire Rooster Year.   Characteristics of a person born under this Chinese Zodiac has them as trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping, and responsibility at work. Roosters have five virtues: literary, military prowess, courageous, benevolent, and trustworthy.
According to Chinese astrology, the year of one's birth sign is the unluckiest year in the 12-year cycle. People in their zodiac year are believed to offend  the God of Age, and incur his curse. In a year of your sign, horoscopes for all aspects of your life will not be very good. However, you can reverse fate by attention to the God of Age “star” and warding off bad luck.
By Wearing Red — Drive Away Bad Luck
Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese culture, standing for prosperity, loyalty, success, and happiness. Red can drive away bad luck and evil spirits.
And wearing red during your zodiac year (or zodiac year) will bring you good luck and give you a good year. You can wear a belt, socks, shoes, or clothing, all in the color, red. Red underwear is highly recommended during your zodiac year.
However, there is a rule that you need to pay attention to, or the red won't ward off the bad luck. You cannot buy, for example, the red underwear yourself. It should be bought by a spouse, family member, or friend.
By Wearing Jade Accessories
Besides wearing red, you can also wear jade accessories during your zodiac year to ward off bad luck, like pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets.
By Facing the Right Direction — Face Away from Tai Sui
People are often told by fortune-tellers that Tai Sui will bring bad luck. In theory, you can make use of Tai Sui to bring good luck, by facing in the opposite direction. For the roosters this year, the position of Tai Sui for each year in its cycle, you must face west (270 °).
People adjust the direction of beds, seats, desks, and even where they live and work to get Tai Sui behind them", in an effort to incur good luck. For example, in 2017 (a year of the Rooster) Tai Sui is in the west. In 2017 Roosters adjust your furniture and dwellings to face east to get good luck. When doing something important, such as a business negotiation, Roosters should face east, and you will stand a good chance of succeeding.
To keep the Chinese lunar calendar within half a month of the traditional solar calendar, there will be a leap month in 2017 (a second lunar month 6 starting July 23rd). So there are 13 lunar months instead of 12, which means there are 384 days in Rooster year 2017.

The Chinese Zodiac has the horse, tiger, rat, rooster, dragon, snake, goat, monkey, ox, dog, cat, rabbit and the boar.

The new year celebrations were born out of fear and myth. There is an ancient Chinese legend that told of a man-eating predatory beast called Nian. This creature was fierce, and had a long head and sharp horn. Nian dwelled deep in the sea most of the year, but on every Chinese New Year Eve it climbed onto the shore, and devour livestock and harm humans in a near-by village. Every Chinese New Year's Eve, the villagers would take their old and young and head for the mountains to hide from the monster.

One Chinese New Year's Eve, a grey haired man appeared in the village. He asked permission to stay for the night and assured everyone that he would chase away the beast. No one believed him. When it was time to go hide in the mountains, the old man steadfastly refused to do that. The villagers departed without him.

The beast arrived at the village to wreck havoc as usual, but it was met with a sudden burst of exploding firecrackers. Startled by the noise, the flashes of light and red banners flying about, it turned about and fled back into the sea.

The next day, when the villagers returned from the mountains, they found everything intact and safe. The old man had left, but they found the remains of the three precious items he had used to chase the beast Nian away. They all agreed that the old man must be a deity who had come to help free them of the beast.

From then on, every Chinese New Year's Eve, families hung red banners, set off fire crackers, and light their lamps the whole night through, awaiting the Chinese New Year. The custom spread far and wide and became a grand traditional celebration of the "Passing of Nian" ("Nian" in Chinese means "year"). So celebrating the Chinese New Year is "passing of Nian" or "Guo Nian" in Chinese. 

Today, the 15-day New Year festivities are celebrated with a week of vacation in metropolitan areas of China. Much like the Western New Year (January 1st), the biggest celebration is on the eve of the holiday. But aside from New Year's Eve, there are other important days of the 15-day New Year Festival, including:

JIE CAI CENG: Welcoming the Gods of Wealth and Prosperity On the 5th day of New Year's, it is believed that the gods of prosperity come down from the heavens. Businesses will often participate in setting off firecrackers as they believe it will bring them prosperity and good fortune for their business.

YUAN XIAO JIE: Festival of Lanterns The 15th day of the New Year is known as The Festival of Lanterns and marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. All types of lanterns are lit throughout the streets and often poems and riddles are often written for entertainment. There are also paper lanterns on wheels created in the form of either a rabbit or the animal of the year (Pig for 2007). The rabbit lantern stems from a Chinese myth or fairytale about a female goddess named "Chang E" who jumped onto the moon. So she wouldn't travel alone, she brought a rabbit with her to keep her company. It is said that if your heart is pure enough, you can see the goddess Chang E and her rabbit on the moon on this day.

Called "hong bao" in Mandarin, the red envelopes filled with money are typically only given to children or unmarried adults with no job. If you're single and working and making money, you still have to give the younger ones the hong bao money. The color red denotes good luck/fortune and happiness/abundance in the Chinese Culture and is often worn or used for decoration in other celebrations.

The Dragon is present in many Chinese cultural celebrations as the Chinese people often think of themselves as descendants of the mythical creature. On the fifth day of the New Year when many people have to start going back to work, they will also have the Dancing Dragons perform in the front of the office building. On the 15th day of the New Year (Yuan Xiao Jie), they will also have a lot of dancing dragon performances. The dragon represents prosperity, good luck and good fortune.

Traditional Foods

The Chinese New Year's Eve meal is the most important dinner of the year. Typically, families gather at a designated relative's house for dinner, but these days, many families often celebrate New Year's Eve dinner at a restaurant. Many restaurants require reservations months in advance. There are also some families that hire a professional chef to come cook at their house. Chefs are often busy running from one home to another cooking dinners for different families on New Year's Eve.

Chinese New Year is a 15-day celebration and each day, many families rotate celebrations between homes of their relatives. The festivies are day-long and sometimes, a family ends up cooking two meals for their relatives, once at lunch and once at dinner. These dishes used to be all made from scratch, but now people can easily buy them prepackaged at the supermarkets.
Eight Treasures Rice (contains glutinous rice, walnuts, different colored dry fruit, raisins, sweet red bean paste, jujube dates, and almonds). 

"Tang Yuan" - black sesame rice ball soup; or a Won Ton soup.
Chicken, duck, fish and pork dishes.
"Song Gao", literally translates to "loose cake"- which is made of rice which has been coarsely ground and then formed into a small, sweet round cake.
"Jiu Niang Tang" - sweet wine-rice soup which contains small glutinous rice balls
a sweet soup made of cut-up fruit: Cut fruit is added into hot/warm water which has had a thickening agent (like cornstarch).

Based on the Lunar Calendar
The date of Chinese New Year changes each year as it is based on the lunar calendar. While the western Gregorian calendar is based on the earth’s orbit around the sun, China and most Asian countries use the lunar calendar that is based on the moon’s orbit around the earth. Chinese New Year always falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Other Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam also celebrate new year using the lunar calendar. 
Though Buddhism and Daoism have unique customs during the New Year, the Chinese New Year is far older than both religions. Chinese New Year is rooted in much a celebration of spring just like Easter or Passover. 

Depending on where rice is grown in China, the rice season lasts from roughly May to September (north China), April to October (Yangtze River Valley), or March to November (Southeast China). The New Year was likely the start of preparations for a new growing season. 
Spring cleaning is a common theme during this time. Chinese people clean out their homes during the holiday. There is another possible reason for the New Year celebration just a way to break up the boredom of the long winter months. 

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