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  Year of the

     Dragon

   New Year

 Celebration

The Significance of Traditions of the Chinese Lunar New Year

                                                                                                                              By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

The 2024 Chinese Lunar New Year officially starts on February 10. It is also known as the Spring Festival, a lively and profoundly meaningful celebration observed by over one billion people around the world. Imbued with tradition and cultural symbolism, this celebration holds great significance, marking the beginning of a new lunar year based on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festivities last 15 days and are filled with rituals, actions, and special foods, each with special meanings reflecting aspirations, mindset, and cultural beliefs. Click here for my 2024 astrological forecast based on the traditional Chinese calendar. 

 

Renewal and Fresh Start

Fundamentally, Chinese New Year is the theme of renewal and fresh starts. Families gather to say goodbye to the old year, letting go of the past year’s negativities and welcoming the new one by inviting positive energy with optimism and excitement for the new year. Join us for a spiritual renewal ceremony live cast online on February 4 at 10 am. Here is the link: Annual Chinese New Year Celebration - Yo San University

 

Red, Red, and Red are Everywhere

Red is the prevalent color during Chinese New Year as it symbolizes joy, luck, and prosperity. Everywhere, you see homes, offices, and streets decorated with red posters adorned with calligraphy of blessings like health, good fortune, and peace. Lanterns and other ornaments attract positive and joyful energy while warding off negative, evil energy. Natural essential oil scents are also used to subtly reinforce positive Five Element energies in one’s life. These are in accordance with Feng Shui principles. Check out feng shui blessings for the new year for your home and office here. 

 

Special Foods with Their Meanings

The family reunion dinner on New Year's Eve is a feast featuring dishes with symbolic meanings:

 

  • A whole Fish with a head and tail represents prosperity and the proper beginning (head) and ending (tail) of a year. 

 

  • Dumplings are a prosperity symbol as they resemble the shape of ancient Chinese gold and silver ingots. They are usually filled with meat, vegetables, and shellfish.

 

  • Sticky Rice Cakes, made from glutinous rice (contains no gluten), signify growth, progress, and the promise of a better year because, in Chinese, Nian Gao literally means reaching new heights every year. 

 

  • Oranges and their golden color symbolize abundance, wholeness, and good luck and are usually served following meals. 

 

  • Sweet glutinous Rice Balls, called Tang Yuan, are a symbol of family unity and sticky bonds. They are often eaten during the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

 

Lion and Dragon Dances

The spellbinding lion and dragon dances are essential to Chinese New Year celebrations. These performances, accompanied by the loud and rhythmic beats of drums and cymbals, are believed to bring good luck and prosperity and drive away evil spirits. Note that it is believed that the louder they are, the better to awaken the helpful spirits and ward off the negative ones. 

 

Giving and Receiving Red Envelopes

Red envelopes, or Hong Bao, are filled with money and exchanged as gifts, especially to children. The color red and the act of giving money symbolize good luck, prosperity, and the passing of positive energy from elders to the younger generation.

 

Honoring Ancestors and Deities

Families pay homage to their ancestors during the New Year celebration, offering prayers and food—usually fruits and incense at family altars. Traditional rituals are performed to ensure the well-being of departed loved ones as well as the honoring of deities. Join us for the ritual here.

 

In summary, the Chinese Lunar New Year is a celebration that is infused with cultural traditions with deep spiritual meanings. It serves as a reminder of the importance of family, the cyclical nature of life, and the collective hope for a brighter and more prosperous future. As the Year of the Dragon unfolds, may the festivities bring happiness, health, and prosperity to all who partake in this cherished universal celebration. Gong Xi Fa Cai, Shen Xing An Kang (恭喜發財,身心安康)!!

Dragon Arising 2024

By Dr. Mao Shing Ni

“Nothing in the world is more adaptable or flexible than water. Its gentle nature, when met with resilience and strength, proves to be a powerful force. The idea that adaptability triumphs over rigidity and flexibility prevails over hardness is widely recognized, though it is not always put into practice. As an ancient sage once wisely stated: A leader who empathizes with the challenges faced by the people is well-equipped to govern. The one who addresses crises with compassion for humanity is the ideal candidate to lead the world. Indeed, the truth often appears paradoxical." 
—Chapter 78, Tao Teh Ching (edited by Dr. Mao Shing Ni)
 
Even though the actual Chinese New Year doesn’t begin until February 10, 2024, the wisdom of Lao Tzu flickers like a lighthouse as we sail into an uncharted year.  Please join me in greeting the arrival of the Year of the Dragon, a time of transformation, growth, and renewed hope. May this celestial creature guide us toward positive developments in our lives, communities, and the world at large.
 
The dragon is a symbol of strength, vitality and good fortune. It invites us to embody its spirit as we navigate the currents of change. Let us, like water in the ocean adapting to the outlines of the shores, embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with grace and wisdom. 
 
Just as the dragon soars through the heavens, may our collective efforts elevate humanity to new heights of understanding, compassion and cooperation. Let us strive for a world where differences are celebrated, where unity prevails over division, and where the well-being of everyone is our shared responsibility.
 
The Tao guides us to strive for balance, harmony, and interconnectedness in our lives. As we embrace the energy of the dragon, let it ignite the flames of love, peace, and health in our lives. May our hearts be filled with kindness, our minds with clarity, and our bodies with vitality. Let us nurture ourselves within, fostering the strength and resilience needed to face the sea of change that may arise.
 
Each of us plays a unique and vital role in the world that we live in. I invite you to share your joys, optimism and love with others, lead with empathy and compassion and be a catalyst for a more enlightened and harmonious world. 
 
Wishing you a New Year filled with health, happiness, prosperity, and the boundless possibilities that the dragon's spirit brings!
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