February

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In ancient Europe, the winter’s ice began to thaw during the Celtic Month of Ash Moon. People ventured out of their homes and villages for the first time since the darkening days of late autumn. It is perhaps for this reason that this month is linked with journeys of all kinds. Energy directed now should focus on transformation, moving you into a new space either physically or spiritually.

The month of the Ash Moon is a good time to start planning your summer holiday and to acclimatize your body to spending time outside. Cast energy forward that takes your inner energies on an excursion by harnessing natural forces, such as floating wishes downstream in a paper boat, or blessing a feather and letting it fly on the wind. Valentine’s Day also occurs near the time of the Ash Moon, so cast love energy that focuses on sharing your journey in the year ahead with someone special.

  • Dates: February 18 – March 17
  • Irish/Gaelic name: Nuin, Nion
  • Themes: Balance, Endurance, Strength, Protection.​
  • Language of Flowers: Grandeur
  • Qualities: Balance, Stability, Strength, Protection, Connection, Vitality, Fertility, Justice, Wisdom, Connection
  • Associated With: Prophetic Dreams and Spiritual Journeys.

Ash is one of our mightiest trees. ​A huge physical specimen when mature, ​and also a tree with some of the most impressive myth, meaning and folklore around it.

In ancient Europe, Ash trees were enormous, towering high above the landscape with a thick trunk and deep roots. The Celts interpreted three distinct things from this tree, expansion, growth, and higher perspective. The incredibly complex root system also symbolized remaining grounded despite how much growth was taking place in one’s life.

This belief was perfectly aligned with the esoteric message of the ash. The Druids and the Norse peoples believed all the realms were connected via branches of a giant mystical ash tree known as Yggdrasil.

This World Tree, Yggdrassil, was an almighty ash tree that joined together the heavenly realms in its branches, the earthly realms in its trunk, and the realms of the underworld through its roots.

The spear of Odin was made from the branch of this tree, which is also known by the Celtic name Nion, pronounced knee-un. One of three trees sacred to the Druids (Ash, Oak and Thorn), the month of the Ash tree is a good month to do magic that focuses on the inner self and spells that focus on spiritual journeys, and prophetic dreams.

The wood of the ash tree was used extensively in ritual practices as it burned with an intense heat, even when green. The ash was often the Yule log – feted and decorated as it was brought into the home, farmstead, or inn, fed mead or wine and then burnt on the hearth with the charred remains kept as kindling for next year’s Yule log. The ashes of the Yule log were often used to protect the home from lightning.

The most productive magickal tools are made from the branches of the Ash tree. Ash has also historically been used to make staffs or staves. An early Iron Age find on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales was a staff of ash with a ribbon of copper spiraling around it, thought to be a druid’s staff. It’s also the wood traditionally used for witches’ broomstick handles (birch for the brush part).

Ash is very much associated with rain and water, especially with thunderstorms and their associated downpours. Thor, the god of thunder had a spear of ash. It’s thought that the tall height of the ash tree may attract lightning.

A country rhyme tells us:

“Avoid an ash,
for it courts a flash”

​While its association with wet weather is recognized in the old weather lore:

“Ash before the oak,
We shall surely get a soak,
Oak before the ash,
We shall only get a splash”

The Greek god of the sea and storms, Poseidon, was also associated with the ash tree. The Norns watered and tended to the tree and covered its bark with clay to protect it. They also gave the (burnt) fruit of the tree to women in childbirth and so it is associated with childbirth as well.

The ash tree is about balance and stability. Its roots grow to the same size as its branches which means the tree is very stable and grounded with a good inner balance. As the World Tree, it provides balance between the earthly realm, the heavens, and the underworld.

Ash provides strength, endurance, and protects what we hold dear. It is justice, protection, and healing. It is life-giving rain and fertility in spring.

Ash the Enchanter

Free thinkers are born under the Ash Celtic tree astrology sign. They possess vivid imagination, intuition and their second nature is to be artists. They can see the world crystal clear, but have the tendency to be moody and withdrawn at times. Don’t think that they have some sort of a bipolar disorder. It’s all due to the fact that their inner world is constantly moving and changing.

These enchanters from the Ash sign are drawn towards art, writing, spiritual matters, and even science. Good partners for this Celtic tree astrology sign are the Willow and Reed signs.

Walking meditation

Practicing this technique during the Ash Moon will free your mind from stress and attract solutions to your problems. You will need a smudge stick, a bunch of herbs – usually white sage – that is used to ‘smudge’ or cleanse an area with smoke.

Light a smudge stick, then take time to relax and breathe deeply. Direct the smoke around your body, taking time to cleanse your aura, and say,

“Spirit I walk this journey and invite you to join me.
May each step be sacred.”

Set out on a walk that takes you through nature. Everything on your journey has a message for you, so relax and enjoy it.

On your return write down any animals you encountered and unusual sights or flashes of inspiration you received.

Sources:

There is a lot to celebrate in February. This is a list of pretty much everything that goes on during the second month of the year. Many of these dates change from year to year. The days that change are marked with this » symbol.

Astronomical Events

Astrological Events

The month of February begins with the Sun in Aquarius, the Sun enters Pisces on the 18th. The Celtic Tree Month of the Ash begins on the 18th. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the month of the Tiger begins on the 3rd, and the year of the Ox begins on the 12th.

The moon cycles through the signs are as follows:

Lucky and Unlucky Days

You might want to plan moving, traveling, major purchases, court dates, and weddings around these dates, avoiding the unlucky days and utilizing the lucky ones.

  • These are the lucky days in February:
    11, 21, 25, and 26.
  • These are the unlucky days in February:
    1, 3, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17, 18 and 23.

Fatal Days

The fourth day bringeth down to death,
The third will stop a strong man’s breath.

February Lore and General Info:

Holidays and Holy Days

Many of the holidays begin on the eve of the night before and end on the eve of the day of. It’s also important to remember that the dates of archaic festivals and feast days may vary widely depending on the source.

February 1

February 2

February 3

  • 3 » Pagerwesi (Bali) celebrates Sang Hyang Pramesti Guru, god of teachers and creator of the universe. Offerings are made to stave off evil forces, and also for the uncremated dead.
  • 3 » Bean Throwing Ceremony (Shinto)
  • 3: Setsubun

February 4

February 5

February 6

February 7

February 8

February 9

  • 9: Feast of Apollo

February 11

February 12

February 13

  • 13 » Celebrating The Agathos Daimon
  • 13 » Tumpek Landep (Bali) – Celebration of all tools and appliances made of iron (knives, cars, televisions, etc.).
  • 13 thru 21: The Parentalis – festival to honor the spirits of the ancestors

February 14

  • 14: St. Valentine’s Day
  • 14: Feast of Vali
  • 14 » Meatfare Sunday
  • 14 » Transfiguration Sunday
  • 14 » Cheese Fare Sunday

February 15

  • 15: Sigfrid’s Day
  • 15: Lupercalia – the festival of Lupercus, the Roman god of flocks and fertility.
  • 15: Kamakura Day

February 16

February 17

  • 17 : Feast of Shesmu
  • 17 » Ash Wednesday
  • 17 » The 40 days of Lent begin
  • 17: Toshigoi – Shinto rite honoring the Kami and offering prayers for a bountiful rice harvest.
  • 17: Festival of Quirinus – god of war, storms and thunder

February 18

  • 18: Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes
  • 18 and 19: Spenta Armaiti (Zoroastrian)

February 19

February 20

  • 20: Day of Tacita

February 21

  • 21: Feralia – an ancient Roman Day of the Dead
  • 21: Toshi-goi-no-Matsuri known (also as the Yakuyoke festival) – Shinto rite honoring the Kami and offering prayers for a bountiful rice harvest.

February 22

  • 22: Caristia – Roman holiday of family reunions

February 23

February 24

  • 24: Flight of the King – Regifugium

February 25

  • 25: Day of Mut

February 26

February 28

  • 28: Saxon Cake Day – cakes offered to the God and the Goddess.
  • 28: Kalevala Day – the epic poem, Kalevala is celebrated by the Finns.
  • 28: Old Slavic Velja Noc – Spirits of the dead visit their living relatives, overseen by Veles, Lord of the Dead.

Saint Days

There is a surprising amount of magick associated with Saint days This is a very short list of the Saint days in February, there are many many more. As time goes by I may end up listing them all, but for now, this is what I have.

Recipes For February

Many more seasonal recipes, including recipes for new and full moon ceremonies, ancient Greek and Roman holidays, Asian festivals and etc can be found here: Seasonal Recipes.

Notes:

Any February lore, almanac, astrological, and celebration dates that have been shared after this post was published can be found by searching the February posts to see what’s new.

A lot of work went into this post. It was compiled from various sources by Shirley Twofeathers for The Pagan Calendar, you may repost and share without karmic repercussions, but only if you give me credit and a link back to this website. Blessed be.

This point in the agricultural calendar is marked by the ploughing of the soil to allow it to prepare for the seed, and any energy work performed now is all about groundwork. The surface of the earth appears barren, but the life force is stirring beneath. Ask yourself what you need to prepare in order to plant the seeds of your dreams this year.

The Celtic fire festival of Imbolc (2 February) falls in the Rowan Moon, lending this time associations with the goddess Brigid to whom the festivities are dedicated. This is the perfect time to perform initiations and for spells of power and success.

  • Dates: January 21 thru February 17
  • Celtic Name: Luis
  • Language of Flowers: Prudence
  • Qualities: protection, magical, healing, light, spring,
  • Color: White
  • Themes: Hearth and Home, Family, Personal Power, Spirituality, Success, Protection.

Known as the Bride, Brigid represents the mother of the new-born Sun and all candle energy work is sacred to her. Like the snowdrops peeking out of the ground to meet the goddess, white is a powerful symbol during this month.

During the Rowan Moon wear white to cast energy, use white candles and feast on white foods to attune to the season. Begin spring cleaning now. As the light increases, you will need to clear out your clutter with all your energy to make way for new growth. Have a Rowan Moon dinner party and ask your guests to wear white, dine by candlelight and eat seeds such as beans, pulses and nuts.

Look for the first snowdrops of the season and make a wish when you see one. Snowdrops hold the potential of spring. Tie a white ribbon on a rowan tree while saying the names of those you love. The tree will send out healing vibrations to them.

Known by the Celts as Luis (pronounced loush), the Rowan is associated with astral travel, personal power, and success. A charm carved into a bit of a Rowan twig will protect the wearer from harm. The Norsemen were known to have used Rowan branches as rune staves of protection. In some countries, Rowan is planted in graveyards to prevent the dead from lingering around too long.

Rowan the Thinker

Rowan is the philosophical sign of the Celtic zodiac. People born under this Celtic tree astrology sign tend to be keen-minded visionaries, with creative thoughts and high ideals. They tend to be aloof and often feel like other people don’t understand them. However, the Rowan signs are full of energy and devotion and are passionate when it comes to persuasion. The Rowan from the Celtic tree horoscope is compatible with the Ivy and Hawthorn signs.

The rowan tree is known for balance, clarity, vision, protection, divination, and transformation. For those who believe that the trees speak to us when we listen with complete silence, the rowan tree whispers encouragement to look deeper, look beyond the focus of your worldly eyesight to go beyond the physical world and engage with worlds beyond that which we are comfortable with.

Another amazing lesson to be found in the rowan tree comes from observing where they grow and how determined they are to survive, even at times sprouting up within other trees. Some see this as an analogy for us to find connections in unexpected places.

Rowan Magick and Lore

The beautiful rowan is one of our most beautiful and colorful trees – with frothy white blossoms in spring, delicate feathered leaves, and colorful red autumn berries. It’s also traditionally considered as one of most magical trees!

The Druids believed the rowan tree contained a spirit that had secret knowledge of immortality and personal freedom. In Norse mythical tales, it’s said that the rowan saved the life of the god Thor as he was being swept away in the river Vimur – he caught hold of a rowan tree on the bank and pulled himself to safety.

In ancient Celtic mythology, rowan was considered as the mythical ‘tree of life’ – the tree of life bears life-giving fruit each month and at the quarter of the year. The magical berries of the tree could sustain, heal, and prolong life.

Icelandic myth gives the rowan tree a connection with light – there, the rowan is a tree of the winter solstice. The frost glistening on midwinter rowan trees in moonlight fills these magical trees with tiny stars and links to ancient traditions of magical ‘moon trees’ decorated with lights (stars). The star-lights in the rowan bring the light energy of the spirit of the returning year in that important solstice moment of darkness as the year turns from darkening to lightening.

The traditions tell of a special star glowing atop the rowan tree – an ancient rite that’s surely influences our modern tradition for topping our own winter solstice trees (Christmas trees) with a star.

A Rowan Witch Cross

This protection charm represents the waxing energies of the Sun and can be hung in the home to attract good luck.

Collect together two straight sticks of rowan wood. Remember to leave an offering of thanks on a breach, such as a strand of hair, or thread or ribbon.

Hold the sticks in a cross and say,

“Spirits of this wood,
I bring you together for the good of all.”

Now bind the sticks into an equal-armed cross and secure them with red thread. As you do this visualize a powerful white light.

Hold the charm up to the Sun and say:

“Behold the Wheel of Brighid,
Blessed be.”

Sources:

Here is a list of the pagan, religious, and secular holidays for February 2020 that have thus far been shared here on The Pagan Calendar. As you can see I have divided it into sections with the almanac and astrological dates listed separately.

Almanac:

Astrological Info – The Sun:

Astrological Info – The Moon:

Lucky and Unlucky Days:

  • February has 4 days that are lucky
    11, 21, 25, and 26.
  • February has 7 days that are unlucky
    3, 7, 9, 12, 16, 17 and 23.

February Lore and General Info:

Celebrations Around The World

Best Days:

  • Plant above ground crops: 1, 2, 5, 6, 23, 24, 28, 29
  • Plant root crops: 11 – 14, 18, 19
  • Plant flowers: 5, 6, 11, 12
  • Transplant: 13, 14
  • Seed beds: 5, 6, 13, 14
  • Tend hydroponics:  6, 7, 24, 25
  • Prune to encourage growth: 11 – 14, 18, 19
  • Prune to discourage growth: 25, 26
  • Apply chemical fertilizer: 5, 6, 23, 24
  • Apply organic fertilizer: 13, 14
  • Destroy weeds: 9, 10, 20, 21, 22
  • Control pests:  16 – 18, 21 – 23
  • Harvest crops: 15 – 17, 20 – 22
  • Wean: 15 – 24
  • Kill farm meat: 13 – 15
  • Set hens and incubators: 1 – 8
  • Castrate: 1, 18 – 29

Any February lore, almanac, astrological, and celebration dates that have been shared after this post was published can be found by searching the February posts to see what’s new.

Holika, or Holi for short, is the Festival of Color. It marks the end of the nippy winter months and the beginning of spring. This festival comes during the full moon in the Hindu month of Phagan, in February or March. In 2019, it falls on March 21, with the Holika Dahan beginning the evening of March 20.

Bura na mano, Holi hai!
“Don’t mind (feel offense), it’s Holi!”

Holi is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated on different dates every year. This great Indian festival is observed at the end of the winters in the month of March after the full Moon. A day before Holi a large bonfire is lit that helps in burning out the evil spirits and that whole process is called as Holika Dahan.

Traditions and customs:

  • Throwing colored powder on each other
  • Throwing colored and scented water
  • Public bonfire
  • Singing, dancing, and festive parties
  • This is a day to forget your worries
  • Color can be found everywhere

Holi is celebrated with extreme enthusiasm and joy. Gulal, abeer and pichkaris are synonymous with the festival. Elaborate plans are made to color loved ones and family members. Everybody wants to be the first one to color the other. In the ensuing battle of colors, everybody is drowned not just in colors of gulal but also in love and mirth. People love to drench each other in colored water. Gujiyas and other sweets are offered to everyone who comes across to color.

Temples are beautifully decorated at the time of Holi. Idol of Radha is placed on swings and devotees turn the swings singing devotional Holi songs. Small plays are organized reflecting the spirit of the festival.

Fun, frolic, boisterousness to the extent of buffoonery marks this festival of colors. What more can be expected- when the people get a social sanction to get intoxicated on the bhang, open not just their hearts but also their lungs. And viola, nobody is expected to take offense too, as the norm of the day is, ‘Bura na mano Holi hai‘.

Holi Legends and Mythology

Foremost is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap. The legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. He demanded that no one pray to Lord Vishnu and that they only pray to him. In fear, people did as he bid. However, his son Pralhad was devoted to Lord Vishnu and would not abide by his father’s rules. To discipline him, Hirankashyap ordered harsh and cruel punishments, yet no harm came to Pralhad.

Finally, Holika (Hirankashyap sister), who was immune to the harms of fire, was ordered to sit on a bed of flames with Pralhad on her lap. Holika was burnt, but Pralhad survived unharmed. As Holika lay dying she begged Pralhad for forgiveness. Pralhad forgave her and deemed that one day a year would be to remember her. To commemorate “Holi”, large bonfires burn and people say a prayer to “Holi” for well-being.

Holi is also associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. A young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about having such a dark complexion compared to his love Radha who was so fair. Yashoda told him to apply color to Radha’s face and see what would happen.

Today, celebrations start early in Nandagaon, where Lord Krishna grew up. Men from Nandagaon raid nearby Barsana (where Radha grew up) with hopes of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. The women of Barsana “beat” the raiders with long wooden sticks. This is a mock battle and the men are well-padded as they try to evade capture. If captured, the men are forced to dress as women, paint their faces, and dance!

Mythology also states that Holi is the celebration of death of Ogress Pootana who tried to kill infant, Krishna by feeding him poisonous milk.

Another legend of Holi which is extremely popular in Southern India is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. According to the legend, people in south celebrate the sacrifice of Lord of Passion Kaamadeva who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world.

Also, popular is the legend of Ogress Dhundhi who used to trouble children in the kingdom of Raghu and was ultimately chased away by the pranks of the children on the day of Holi. Showing their belief in the legend, children till date play pranks and hurl abuses at the time of Holika Dahan.

Cultural Significance

Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassure the people of the power of the truth as the moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil. The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad also points to the fact that extreme devotion to god pays as god always takes his true devotee in his shelter.

All these legends help the people to follow a good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful. This is extremely important in the modern day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture one who is honest. Holi helps the people to believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight away the evil.

Besides, holi is celebrated at a time of the year when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest. This gives a people a good reason to rejoice, make merry and submerge themselves in the spirit of Holi.

Social Significance

Holi helps to bring the society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country. For, the festival is celebrated by non-Hindus also as everybody like to be a part of such a colorful and joyous festival.

Also, the tradition of the Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hardship that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood.

In the evening people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts, sweets and greetings. This helps in revitalizing relationships and strengthening emotional bonds between people.

Biological Significance

It is interesting to note that the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun.

We also need to thank our forefathers who started the trend of celebrating Holi at such a scientifically accurate time. And, also for incorporating so much fun in the festival.

Why Celebrate Holi?

As Holi comes at a time of the year when people have a tendency to feel sleepy and lazy. This is natural for the body to experiences some tardiness due to the change from the cold to the heat in the atmosphere. To counteract this tardiness of the body, people sing loudly or even speak loudly. Their movements are brisk and their music is loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the system of the human body.

Besides, the colors when sprayed on the body have a great impact on it. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.

There is yet another scientific reason for celebrating the Holi, this however pertains to the tradition of Holika Dahan. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrima (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it.

The way Holi is celebrated in south, the festival also promotes good health. For, the day after the burning of Holika people put ash (Vibhuti) on their forehead and they would mix Chandan (sandalpaste) with the young leaves and flowers of the Mango tree and consume it to promote good health.

Some also believe that play with colors help to promote good health as colors are said to have great impact on our body and our health. Western-Physicians and doctors believe that for a healthy body, colors too have an important place besides the other vital elements. Deficiency of a particular color in our body causes ailment, which can be cured only after supplementing the body with that particular color.

People also clean-up their houses on Holi which helps in clearing up the dust and mess in the house and get rid of mosquitoes and others pests. A clean house generally makes the residents feel good and generate positive energies.

Sources:

Nyepi Day in Bali is a New Year celebration unlike anywhere else on the planet. Unlike other cultures that celebrate New Year with vivacious and loud festivities, the pinnacle of Balinese New Year is a day of complete Silence. Hence the name Nyepi, meaning “to keep silent” in the local language, which falls on the day following the dark moon of the spring equinox.

It’s ultimately the quietest day of the year, when all of the island’s inhabitants abide by a set of local rules. These bring all routine activities to a complete halt. Roads all over Bali are void of any traffic and nobody steps outside of their home premises.

Nyepi is a day fully dedicated to connect oneself more closely with God (Hyang Widi Wasa) through prayers and at the same time as a day of self-introspection to decide on values, such as humanity, love, patience, kindness, and others, that should be kept forever.

The unique day of silence marks the turn of the Saka calendar of western Indian origin. It’s one among the many calendars assimilated by Indonesia’s diverse cultures. The Saka is also among two calendars that are jointly used in Bali. The Saka is 78 years behind the Gregorian calendar, and follows a lunar sequence. Nyepi follows after a new moon, and the dates vary from year to year.

Before the Silence Before ‘the silence’, highlight rituals essentially start three days prior to Nyepi, with colourful processions known as the Melasti pilgrimages. Pilgrims from various village temples all over Bali convey heirlooms on long walks towards the coastlines where elaborate purification ceremonies take place. It is one of the best times to capture on camera the iconic Balinese processions in motion, as parasols, banners and small effigies offer a cultural spectacle.

Village meeting halls known as ‘banjar’ and streets feature papier-mâché effigies called ogoh-ogoh. They are built throughout the weeks leading up to the Saka New Year. Youth groups design and build their mythical figures with intricately shaped and tied bamboo framework before many layers of artwork. These artistic creations are offshoots of the celebration. Much of it has stayed on to become an inseparable element in the island-wide celebration that’s Nyepi Eve.

Then on Saka New Year’s Eve, it is all blaring noise and merriment. Every Balinese household starts the evening with blessings at the family temple and continues with a ritual called the pengrupukan where each member participates in ‘chasing away’ malevolent forces, known as bhuta kala, from their compounds – hitting pots and pans or any other loud instruments along with a fiery bamboo torch. These ‘spirits’ are later manifested as the ogoh-ogoh to be paraded in the streets. As the street parades ensue, bamboo cannons and occasional firecrackers fill the air with flames and smoke. The Nyepi Eve parade usually starts at around 19:00 local time.

However on Nyepi Day, complete calm enshrouds the island. The Balinese Hindus follow a ritual called the Catur Brata Penyepian, roughly the ‘Four Nyepi Prohibitions’. These include:

  • amati geni or ‘no fire’
  • amati lelungan or ‘no travel’
  • amati karya ‘no activity’
  • amati lelanguan ‘no entertainment’

Some consider it a time for total relaxation and contemplation, for others, a chance for Mother Nature to ‘reboot’ herself after a year of human pestering. No lights are turned on at night – total darkness and seclusion goes along with this new moon island-wide, from 06:00 to 06:00. No motor vehicles whatsoever are allowed on the streets, except ambulances and police patrols and emergencies. Traditional community watch patrols or pecalang enforce the rules of Nyepi, patrolling the streets by day and night in shifts.

Sources:

Observed annually on February 8th, National Kite Flying Day is marked by kite flying enthusiasts across the country.

Kites date back to China in 470 B.C. China is full of lore and histories of the origins of the kite. Many are related to the way wind affects the leaves on the trees, the shelters they lived in, blowing away the sails on their ships and the hats they wore upon their heads. The stories also tell of kites being invented to spy on their enemies or to send messages.

There is also evidence that the people of South Sea Islands were using kites for fishing around the same time as the people of China.

Early kites were constructed from bamboo or sturdy reeds for framing. Leaves, silk or paper made ideal sails. Vines or braided fibers completed the line or tether. While kites were initially used as tools, they were also ceremonial as well. Used to send messages into the heavens or to lift offerings up to the gods, kites had a symbolic place in the culture.

For A Magickal Kite Flying Day

  • Themes: Wishes; Freedom; Playfulness; Air; Movement
  • Symbols: Wind; Sailing Ships
  • Presiding Goddess: Shina Tsu Hime

About the Goddess Shina Tsu Hime:

This Japanese wind goddess disperses the morning fog. She also keeps away evil, distracting winds, winds that threaten to uproot or blur our spiritual focus. Because of this, Shina Tsu Hime has become the patroness of sailors and farmers, the latter of whom pray to her for fertile winds bearing seed and rain.

To do today:

Join our Eastern cousins in kite-flying festivities. Shina Tsu Hine will be glad to meet with you in a nearby park and give life to your kite. As it flies, release a wish on the winds. Or cut the kite free and liberate a weight from your shoulders.

While you’re out, gather up nine leaves that Shina Tsu Hime banters about (one for each remaning month). Turn clockwise in a circle, releasing all but one leaf back into Shina Tsu Hime’s care while saying:

Come May, bring movement in my goals.
Come June, playful love makes me whole.
Come July, my wishes I will see.
Come August, hope grows in me.
Come September, all distractions you abate.
Come October, my spirit you liberate.
Come November, my health is assured.
Come December, in my heart you endure.

Keep the last leaf with you, releasing it only when you need one of this goddess’s attributes to manifest quickly.

Kite Flying Tips

Today kites are popular both as hobbies and for outdoor fun. They range from a simple diamond kite to more complicated box kites and giant sled kites. Stunt kites, also known as sport kites, are designed so the operator can maneuver the kite into dips, twists, and dives with dramatic effect.

Go outside and fly a kite if weather permits. If not, make one inside. In some parts of the country, the time of year may make it difficult to fly a kite. There are kite festivals at various periods of the year. Use today to scout out those festivals and make a plan to join in. Use #NationalKiteFlyingDay to post on social media.

How to get your kite up in the air and keep it there:

  • Be sure the kite is assembled correctly.
  • Check the wind. Some kites require more wind and others less. Picking the right day for your kite is key. A light breeze (5-20 mph) is generally optimal.
  • Be safe. Don’t fly the kite near power lines, trees or other sky high obstacles. Wide open spaces are best.
  • Be safer. Don’t fly in the rain.
  • When launching the kite, be sure to have your back to the wind. If the wind is light, have a friend hold the kite down wind and hold your line taught, reeling in slowly until the kite launches.
  • Don’t let the line out too quickly. Let the line out at the same pace the kite is gaining altitude.

Kite Flying Quotes

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.
~Anais Nin

Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it.
~Winston Churchill

A kite needs to be tied down in order to fly. I learned how important restrictions can sometimes be in order to experience freedom.
~Damien Rice

You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity. Let out a little more string on your kite.
~Alan Cohen

My wife holds the kite strings that let me go ‘weeeeeee’, then she reels me back in.
~Jeff Bridges

Strong people are made by opposition like kites that go up against the wind.
~Frank Harris

Sources:

Aphrodisia, festival of Aphrodite, ancient Greece was, according to Wilson’s Almanac celebrated on or around February 6th. If you’d like to invoke the Goddess of love, sex, and beauty, you can prepare for a feast honoring Aphrodite’s loving sensuality and warmth.

  • Decorate with pink carnations; they are the flowers of friendship.
  • Burn warm yellow sandalwood scented candles – sandalwood loosens inhibitions.
  • Put symbols of love including pomegranates, apples, and seashells out in blue ceramic or crystal bowls.
  • Invite friends to bring an aphrodisiac food for sharing (cherries, oysters, papaya, chocolate, truffles, red wine, etc).
  • Open a window or door slightly.
  • Join hands around the dinner table.

Recite this invocation:

Aphrodite, Greek goddess of friendship, love, and life
Come join us, bring peace and eliminate all strife
We welcome you with fruit, flowers, fire, and fresh air
Release us from anxiety, stress, or despair

Come down; be with us
Grace us this special day
We call you with love
We hope you will stay.

Repeat three times with sincerity.

Who is Aphrodite?

Aphrodite is the Olympian goddess of love, beauty, sexual pleasure, and fertility. She is regularly attended by few of her children, the Erotes, who are capable of stirring up passion in both mortals and gods at the goddess’ will.

Portrayed as both insatiable and unattainable, Aphrodite was born near the coast of Cythera out of the foam (aphros) Uranus’ castrated genitals created when they fell into the sea. Even though married to Hephaestus, she had affairs with all Olympians except Zeus and Hades, most famously with Ares, the god of war. She also had famous romances with two mortals, Anchises and Adonis.

A Ritual for The Aphrodesia

  • Colors: Sea green and white
  • Element: Water
  • Offerings: Shells. Fishes. Promises to aid expectant parents.
  • Daily Meal: Ocean fish. Shellfish. Sweet things, especially desserts. Whipped cream.

Altar:

Lay with a cloth of sea green, strings of pearls, white lace, many scallop shells, colored glass sea floats, abalone, small shells with hearts and fishes painted on them, and a large chalice of Greek wine with frothy sugared egg whites floating in it.

Invocation to Aphrodite Genetrix

Lady of Sea-Foam,
Green as the ocean from which
You sprang, with pearls
Of whitest foam,
Aphrodite Genetrix
Love that creates all Life,
We thank you for the Love
That sparked our existence.
We remember that we were all born of love
Whether it was brief and poignant
As a firefly’s courtship
Or solid and lasting
For half a century,
Whether it sprang from the body
Or the heart, or the soul.
You who bind the proton to the electron
And so bind the world together,
May we never forget your gift of attraction
That makes us all human
Even as you are divine.

Chant:

Amor Invictus
Amor Invictus

The ritual for this day is the Great Rite, performed by one man and one woman, as Aphrodite Genetrix is the matron of procreative sexuality. If done symbolically, the man plunges a blade into the chalice held by the woman, and then it is poured as a libation.

Ideally, it should be done literally, either by members of the house or by two who have come in for this purpose. If outsiders, it would be an auspicious time to conceive a child. All sit facing outwards in a circle and chant as the couple are wrapped in a red cloth and lay together in the center, and when it is done all repair to their rooms and either contemplate love or have ritual sex, alone or together.

Sources:

Reindeer racing championships are held annually around Easter time in small Sami town called Kautokeino, when the snow is still divine. Another famous reindeer race takes place within the Sami Week in Tromsø on the Sunday closest to the Sami National Day that falls on the 6th of February. (In 2019, it will be February 4 thru 10.)

In addition to the championships, an amateur race is also held. Participation in this amusing spectacle is available for all the interested. Volunteers are given a number and a ticket for the race. Whoever has not skied before is advised to race on their butts as it will surely make the race last longer and perhaps some will even manage to pass the finish line.

On Sunday, barriers go down along both sides of the whole of Tromsø’s main street, to create a track for some fast and furious reindeer racing. When the start signal goes, the reindeer burst out of their stalls at the northern end and pound at full speed down the street, pulling their drivers after them on skis. The finishing line is at the southern end.

The event is the Nordic championships, with the 12 fastest reindeer from Norway and Finland on the starting line. There is no distinction between male and female drivers; it’s the fastest reindeer that counts.

According to historical documents, on the day when Shun, who was one of ancient China’s mythological emperors, came to the throne more than 4000 years ago, he led his ministers to worship heaven and earth. From then on, that day was regarded as the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar. This is the basic origin of Chinese New Year.

The new year is by far the most important festival of the Chinese lunar calendar. A long time ago, the emperor determined the start of the New Year. Today, celebrations are based on Emperor Han Wu Di’s almanac. It uses the first day of the first month of the Lunar Year as the start of Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year always occurs in January or February on the second new moon after the winter solstice, though on occasion it has been the third new moon.

In 2019, the Chinese New Year officially begins on February 5th and ends on February 19th. This begins the Year of the Pig.

The holiday is a time of renewal, with debts cleared, new clothes bought, shops and homes decorated, and families gathered for a reunion dinner. Enjoying extravagant foods with family and friends is arguably the cornerstone of the occasion, along with receiving the ubiquitous red envelopes full of cash (called lai see in Cantonese, or hongbao in Mandarin).

Chinese New Year is marked by fireworks, traditional lion dances, gift giving, and special foods. This is one of the most important holidays. It is observed all over the world. Similar celebrations occur in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival. The “Spring Festival” in modern Mainland China, is China’s most important traditional festival, this public holiday starts on the Chinese New Year, and lasts for 7 days.

About The Chinese Calendar

The Chinese Calendar is a based on the cycles of the moon. The start of the New Year begins anywhere from late January to mid-February. A complete lunar cycle takes 60 years. It is composed of five cycles that are 12 years each. Each 12-year segment is named after an animal.

According to legend, Buddha called all the animals to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came and as a reward to them, he named the years after them in the order they arrive (the order is listed below). It is believed the animal ruling of the year you are born effects your personality and “it is the animal that hides in your heart”.

The Chinese calendar uses the stem-branch system. The branches are the 12 years. There are ten stems that are used in the counting system. The stems are metal, water, wood, fire and soil; each having a yin and a yang side. There are a lot more intricacies in the system, but you should also know that the elements correlate to colors. Metal=white or golden, water=black, wood=green, fire=red, and soil=brown.

When you put all of this together you end up with the following:

  • 2007 is the Year of the Red Pig
  • 2008 is the Year of the Brown Rat
  • 2009 is the Year of the Brown Ox
  • 2010 is the Year of the White or Golden Tiger
  • 2011 is the Year of the White or Golden Rabbit
  • 2012 is the Year of the Black Dragon
  • 2013 is the Year of the Black Snake
  • 2014 is the Year of the Green Horse
  • 2015 is the Year of the Green Sheep
  • 2016 is the Year of the Red Monkey
  • 2017 is the Year of the Red Rooster
  • 2018 is the Year of the Brown Dog
  • 2019 is the Year of the Brown Pig
  • 2020 is the Year of the White Rat

Which Chinese zodiac animal are you?

According to the Asian astrology, your year of birth – and the animal this represents – determines a lot about your personality traits. Find the year you were born, and you can figure out which animal in the Chinese Zodiac is yours. The animal changes at the beginning of the Chinese New Year, and traditionally these animals were used to date the years.

Remember, Chinese New Year is a movable celebration, dictated by the lunar cycle, which can fall anytime between January 21 and February 20. So, if you were born during that time, you may need to do some research to figure out which animal applies to you.

  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954
  • Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955
  • Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959

Traditions

Traditions observed during the New Year stem from legends and practices from ancient times. Legend tells of a village, thousands of years ago, that was ravaged by Nian, an evil monster, one winter’s night. The following year the monster returned and again ravaged the village. Before it could happen a third time, the villagers devised a plan to scare the monster away.

The color red protects against evil. Red banners were hung everywhere. Firecrackers were set off, and people banged on drums and gongs creating loud noises to scare the beast away. The plan worked. The celebration lasted several days during which people visited with each other, exchanged gifts, danced, and ate tasty food. Today, celebrations last two weeks.

The red posters with poetic verses on it were initially a type of amulet, but now it simply means good fortune and joy. Various Chinese New Year symbols express different meanings. For example, an image of a fish symbolizes “having more than one needs every year”. A firecracker symbolizes “good luck in the coming year”. The festival lanterns symbolize “pursuing the bright and the beautiful.”

Preparing for the New Year

Spring cleaning is started about a month prior to the new year and must be completed before the celebrations begin. All the negativity and bad luck from the previous year must be swept out of the house.

Many people clean their homes to welcome the Spring Festival. They put up the red posters with poetic verses on it to their doors, Chinese New Year pictures on their walls, and decorate their homes with red lanterns. It is also a time to reunite with relatives so many people visit their families at this time of the year.

People also get haircuts and purchase new clothing. It symbolizes a fresh start. Flowers and decorations are purchased. Decorations include a New year picture (Chinese colored woodblock print), Chinese knots, and paper-cuttings, and couplets.

Flowers have special meanings and the flower market stocks up on:

  • Plum blossom for luck
  • Kumquats for prosperity
  • Narcissus for prosperity
  • Sunflowers to have a good year
  • Eggplant to heal sickness
  • Chom mon planta for tranquility

Offerings are made to the Kitchen God about a week before the New Year.

On The Eve of The Spring Festival

The Annual Reunion Dinner, Nian Ye Fan, is held on the eve of the festival. This is an important part of the celebration. Families come together and eat together. The food is symbolic. Many dishes have ingredients that sound the same as good tidings. In northern China, dumplings are served at midnight, they symbolize wealth.

In the evening of the Spring Festival Eve, many people set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to cast away any bad luck and bring forth good luck. Children often receive “luck” money. Many people wear new clothes and send Chinese New Year greetings to each other. Various activities such as beating drums and striking gongs, as well as dragon and lion dances, are all part of the Spring Festival festivities.

The dragon dance is a highlight in the celebrations. A team of dances mimic the movements of the dragon river spirit. Dragons bring good luck.

Lions are considered good omens. The lion dance repels demons. Each lion has two dancers, one to maneuver the head, the other to guide the back. Business owners offer the lions a head of lettuce and oranges or tangerines. The offerings hope to insure a successful year in business. Lettuce translates into “growing wealth” and tangerines and oranges sound like “gold” and “wealth” in Chinese. The lions eat the oranges, then spew them up and out into the hordes of people who eagerly tried to catch the them. After eating the lettuce, they spit out it out in a thousand pieces.

During the New Year

Red packets called Lai See Hong Bao (or Hongbao) with money tucked inside are given out as a symbol of good luck. The amount is an even number as odd numbers are regarded as unlucky.

  • Bright red lanterns are hung.
  • Brooms and cleaning material are put away. No cleaning takes place during the holiday so no good luck is swept out of the home.
  • During the New Year celebrations people do not fight and avoid being mean to each other, as this would bring a bad, unlucky year.
  • Bright colors and red are worn.
  • Everyone celebrates their birthday this day and they turn one year older.
  • Traditional red oval shaped lanterns are hung.

The end of the New Year is celebrated with the Lantern Festival.

Top Ten Taboos for The Chinese New Year

The Spring Festival is a time of celebration. It’s to welcome the new year with a smile and let the fortune and happiness continue on. At the same time, the Spring Festival involves somber ceremonies to wish for a good harvest. Strict rules and restrictions go without saying.

To help you with that, here are the top 10 taboos during the Chinese New Year. Follow these and fortune will smile on you.

  • 1. Do not say negative words

All words with negative connotations are forbidden! These include: death, sick, empty, pain, ghost, poor, break, kill and more. The reason behind this should be obvious. You wouldn’t want to jinx yourself or bring those misfortunes onto you and your loved ones.

  • 2. Do not break ceramics or glass

Breaking things will break your connection to prosperity and fortune. If a plate or bowl is dropped, immediately wrap it with red paper while murmuring auspicious phrases. Some would say 岁岁平安 (suì suì píng ān). This asks for peace and security every year. 岁 (suì) is also a homophone of 碎, which means “broken” or “shattered.” After the New Year, throw the wrapped up shards into a lake or river.

  • 3. Do not clean or sweep

Before the Spring Festival, there is a day of cleaning. That is to sweep away the bad luck. But during the actual celebration, it becomes a taboo. Cleaning or throwing out garbage may sweep away good luck instead.

If you must, make sure to start at the outer edge of a room and sweep inwards. Bag up any garbage and throw it away after the 5th day. Similarly, you shouldn’t take a shower on Chinese New Year’s Day.

  • 4. Do not use scissors, knives or other sharp objects

There are 2 reasons behind this rule. Scissors and needles shouldn’t be used. In olden times, this was to give women a well-deserved break.

Sharp objects in general will cut your stream of wealth and success. This is why 99% of hair salons are closed during the holidays. Hair cutting is taboo and forbidden until Lunar February 2, when all festivities are over.

  • 5. Do not visit the wife’s family

Traditionally, multiple generations live together. The bride moves into the groom’s home after marriage. And, of course, she will celebrate Chinese New Year with her in-laws.

Returning to her parents on New Year’s Day means that there are marriage problems and may also bring bad luck to the entire family. The couple should visit the wife’s family on the 2nd day. They’d bring their children, as well as a modest gift (because it’s the thought that counts).

  • 6. Do not demand debt repayment

This custom is a show of understanding. It allows everyone a chance to celebrate without worry. If you knock on someone’s door, demanding repayment, you’ll bring bad luck to both parties. However, it’s fair game after the 5th day. Borrowing money is also taboo. You could end up having to borrow the entire year.

  • 7. Avoid fighting and crying

Unless there is a special circumstance, try not to cry. But if a child cries, do not reprimand them. All issues should be solved peacefully. In the past, neighbors would come over to play peacemaker for any arguments that occurred. This is all to ensure a smooth path in the new year.

  • 8. Avoid taking medicine

Try not to take medicine during the Spring Festival to avoid being sick the entire year. Of course, if you are chronically ill or contract a sudden serious disease, immediate health should still come first. Related taboos include the following ~ Don’t visit the doctor, Don’t perform/undergo surgery, Don’t get shots

  • 9. Do not give New Year blessings to someone still in bed

You are supposed to give New Year blessings (拜年—bài nián). But let the recipient get up from bed first. Otherwise, they’ll be bed-ridden for the entire year. You also shouldn’t tell someone to wake up. You don’t want them to be rushed around and bossed around for the year. Take advantage of this and sleep in!

  • 10. Chinese gift-giving taboos

It was mentioned above that you should bring gifts when paying visits. It’s the thought that counts, but some gifts are forbidden.

  • Clocks are the worst gifts. The word for clock is a homophone (sounds like) “the funeral ritual”. Also, clocks and watches are items that show that time is running out.
  • Items associated with funerals – handkerchiefs, towels, chrysanthemums, items colored white and black.
  • Sharp objects that symbolize cutting a tie (i.e. scissors and knives).
  • Items that symbolize that you want to walk away from a relationship (examples: shoes and sandals)
  • Mirrors
  • Homonyms for unpleasant topics (examples:green hats because “wear a green hat” sounds like “cuckold”, “handkerchief” sounds like “goodbye”, “pear” sounds like “separate”, and “umbrella” sounds like “disperse”).

Some regions have their own local taboos too. For example, in Mandarin, “apple” (苹果) is pronounced píng guǒ. But in Shanghainese, it is bing1 gu, which sounds like “passed away from sickness.”

These don’t just apply to the Spring Festival, so keep it in the back of your mind!

For the Spring Festival, these rules may seem excessive. Especially when you add in the cultural norms, customs and manners. But like a parent would say, they are all for your own good. Formed over thousands of years, these taboos embody the beliefs, wishes and worries of the Chinese people.

Foods For The New Year

Dishes may vary slightly according to regional and family customs. Dumplings (gau ji) are more commonly served in the north of China, while Hong Kong families often go for a dim sum meal.

Food symbolism goes back centuries in China, and is taken very seriously on special occasions such as Lunar New Year. All food items have their symbolic meanings which, for Hongkongers, are often derived from their Cantonese homonyms. For instance, the Cantonese word for lettuce – sang choi – sounds very similar to the phrase which means “growing wealth”. Of course, nothing considered “unlucky” is allowed near the dining table.

By carefully choosing the menu in this way, families will supposedly be able to increase their luck and manifest their wishes for the coming year, whether those be earning more money or having more children.

Red meat is not served and one is careful not to serve or eat from a chipped or cracked plate. Fish is eaten to ensure long life and good fortune. Red dates bring the hope for prosperity, melon seeds for proliferation, and lotus seeds means the family will prosper through time. Oranges and tangerines symbolize wealth and good fortune. Nian gao, the New Year’s Cake is always served. It is believed that the higher the cake rises the better the year will be. When company stops by a “prosperity tray” is served. The tray has eight sides (another symbol of prosperity) and is filled with goodies like red dates, melon seeds, cookies, and New Year Cakes.

Here the origins of some traditional Chinese festival foods and their often quirky symbolic meanings.

  • Lettuce for the lion dance

No traditional Lunar New Year celebration is complete without the famous lion dance, which is thought to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. Performers wearing the traditional lion costume normally dance through the streets to the sound of gongs and drums. When the lion briefly stops at houses and businesses along the way, it will “eat” lettuce that is hung up outside the doors, since the humble vegetable symbolizes “growing fortune”. Inside the head of the lettuce will often be a red envelope, further emphasizing its significance.

  • Dried oysters and ‘hair vegetable’ stir-fry

This unusual but lucky dish is named ho see fat choy in Cantonese, which sounds a lot like the words meaning “flourishing business”. For an extra dose of luck, ho see (oyster) on its own sounds similar to the Cantonese for “good things” or “good business”, while fat choy (hair vegetable) sounds similar to “prosperity”, as in the traditional Lunar New Year greeting kung hei fat choi. What’s more, the expensive “hair vegetable”, which looks like strands of black hair, is actually a type of fungus. But that doesn’t put off Cantonese restaurants from serving the auspicious dish at Lunar New Year.

  • Egg noodles, or yi mein

This classic dish of stir-fried egg noodles is often served at formal dinners during Lunar New Year and other festivals, as it symbolises longevity. The chef must not cut the noodle strands to preserve their length. For this reason, yi mein is often eaten at birthday celebrations too – kind of like the Chinese equivalent of a candle-lit birthday cake.

  • Glutinous rice cake, or neen go

The Cantonese term for this traditional sticky treat sounds the same as the literal words “year high”, which symbolize the promise of a better year to come. Families may eat this for several reasons: wanting to have a higher income, higher social status or even more children. Rice cake can be cooked in a variety of ways, and can be sweet or savory. Historical records date the yearly custom to at least 1,000 years ago, in the days of the Liao dynasty (AD907-1125). If there’s one thing that is unmissable from every family’s Lunar New Year feast in all parts of China and Hong Kong, it must be this dish.

  • ‘Basin food’, or poon choi

Originating from the walled villages of the New Territories, this traditional celebratory dish soon spread throughout Hong Kong and later China. Legend has it that the early settlers in the New Territories would pool together their most prized ingredients – meat and seafood – in a big wooden washbasin and cook them to be served to the whole village. The communal dish required huge efforts of co-ordination and manpower to cook, so it quickly became associated with celebrations and religious rituals. Each village had its own secret poon choi recipe consisting of various ingredients layered in a particular order in the pot, but the dish is now found in most Cantonese restaurants on special occasions.

  • Lotus root soup, or leen gnau tong

The fleshy, tuber-like roots of the lotus flower have been a staple of Chinese cooking for millennia, and traditionally symbolise “abundance”, since the Cantonese term sounds like “having [money] year after year”. The ingredient is also prized for its supposed “cooling” effect on the body, according to traditional Chinese medicine. Lotus root soup, or alternatively stir-fried lotus root, is commonly eaten at Lunar New Year for these reasons.

  • Dim sum

Another Cantonese food tradition that is now common in the West is dim sum. The phrase literally means “a light touch of the heart” or “a little bit of heart”. This reflects the care and attention put into each bite-sized dish that is shared between the table, such as har gau (shrimp dumplings), various types of filled buns, and cheung fun (rice noodle rolls). Like a Chinese take on brunch, dim sum is often served at lengthy afternoon yum cha sessions in tea houses. But Hongkongers often go for an even more lavish version of this meal around Lunar New Year.

Auspicious Greetings

The Chinese New Year is often accompanied by loud, enthusiastic greetings, often referred to as auspicious words or phrases. New Year couplets printed in gold letters on bright red paper is another way of expressing auspicious new year wishes. The most common auspicious greetings and sayings consist of four characters, such as the following:

  • 金玉滿堂 Jīnyùmǎntáng –
    “May your wealth [gold and jade] come to fill a hall”
  • 大展鴻圖 Dàzhǎnhóngtú –
    “May you realize your ambitions”
  • 迎春接福 Yíngchúnjiēfú –
    “Greet the New Year and encounter happiness”
  • 萬事如意 Wànshìrúyì –
    “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
  • 吉慶有餘 Jíqìngyǒuyú –
    “May your happiness be without limit”
  • 竹報平安 Zhúbàopíng’ān –
    “May you hear [in a letter] that all is well”
  • 一本萬利 Yīběnwànlì –
    “May a small investment bring ten-thousandfold profits”
  • 福壽雙全 Fúshòushuāngquán –
    “May your happiness and longevity be complete”
  • 招財進寶 Zhāocáijìnbǎo –
    “When wealth is acquired, precious objects follow”

These greetings or phrases may also be used just before children receive their red packets, when gifts are exchanged, when visiting temples, or even when tossing the shredded ingredients of yusheng particularly popular in Malaysia and Singapore. Children and their parents can also pray in the temple, in hopes of getting good blessings for the new year to come.

Sources:

 

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