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Chinese New Year

A New Year’s Start for Driving Away Evil Spirits and Attracting Good Fortune

The first day of the Rooster was on 28 January 2017 and marked the start of the world's most prominent and celebrated festival. Filled with lion and dragon dances, fireworks, gatherings of family and friends, the sharing of meals and giving of red envelopes.

But did you know the truth about the first day of the New Moon festivities?

With the year of the Rooster would you like to know more about what this year might bring?

Maybe you might like a spring clean of your energy field?

In China, many traditional practices exist to clear out old spirits and bring in new positive energy for the new year. It is also a time to be with elders, loved ones and extended family. On the eve, some families go to local temples; however in modern practice, many households hold parties and count down to the New Year.

Some interesting facts about the Chinese New Year

  1. The holiday is oddly called "Spring Festival".
  2. Billions of red envelopes are exchanged.
  3. Accounts for the world's biggest annual fireworks usage.
  4. Chinese New Year's Day is called Guo Nian.
  5. A typical Chinese New Year celebration lasts for 15 days.

Guan Yu – “God of Success”

On the 5th day of the new year people will commonly shoot off firecrackers to gain the attention and bring the good favour of the general Guan Yu (also known as the Chinese God of War, he was born in the Han Dynasty and is considered the greatest General in Chinese history, representing loyalty, strength, truth, and justice).

The 13th day of the year is then wholly dedicated to him.  Almost every organization and business in China will pray to Guan Yu on this day.  Before his life ended, Guan Yu had won over one hundred battles and that is a goal that all businesses in China want to accomplish.  In a way, people look at him as the God of Wealth or the God of Success.

Traditional Chinese house clearings

To encourage good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity, it is traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse their house.  This is to sweep away any bad spirits and allow good luck and positivty inside.  Locals decorate their windows and doors with red colour paper-cutouts.

It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits.

To prepare for the new year and drive away evil spirits, a traditional Chinese practice was to light firecrackers in the home, with doors closed and sealed.  In the morning on New Years day the doors were reopened in a ritual called opening the door of fortune.

On Day 2 on the new year, incense is burned at the graves of ancestors as part of the offering and prayer ritual.

On the 3rd Day (known as "red mouth”), Rural villagers practice a tradition where over trash fires, paper is burnt as an offering.  It is believed to be an unlucky day to visit friends in their home, or have visitors to your own.  In the past the day was known as the Day of the Poor Devil, and most people stayed at home all day.

Red envelopes

Traditionally, red envelopes or red packets are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations.  Members of the family who are married also give red envelopes containing cash as a form of blessings and to suppress the aging and challenges associated with the coming year, mostly kids and teenagers.  Employees often receive a bonus payment in a red envelope to bring good luck, smooth-sailing, good health and wealth.

Dragon and lion dances

Dragon and lion dances are common during Chinese New Year.  It is believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with the face of the Dragon or Lion dancing aggressively can evict bad or evil spirits.  Some families invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Chinese New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises.