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How To Respectfully Celebrate Chinese New Year: 5 Lucky Activities

Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner By Tsao-Lin E. Moy, L.Ac., MSOM, LMT, C. SMA
Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Tsao-Lin, has over 18 years of experience as an expert in alternative and Chinese medicine.
Plum Blossoms
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Celebrating the New Year is serious business in Chinese culture. Chinese New Year is an opportunity to attract prosperity and ward off bad luck.

It falls right around the start of spring, as the energy in the air is shifting toward new beginnings. In Chinese culture, there are other festivals that mark this special time of year, but the New Year is the biggest and most exciting. 

Traditionally, fireworks and Lion dances are held to celebrate and ward off evil spirits. The Lion dancers practice all year to perform acrobatics and play drums, cymbals, and flutes; it is a magical spectacle. Communities and generations of families will gather for the New Year to celebrate good luck and abundance and look forward to a happy, healthy year.

Non-Asian people can celebrate along with the Chinese community, but I believe it's important that everyone learn about the deeper meanings of this time of year. Here is a quick overview of the foundation of the occasion, what this year's zodiac sign means, and how anyone can move forward into the new year with a little luck on their side.

Background on the Chinese Zodiac.

Chinese Astrology (the Chinese Zodiac) is an esoteric branch of Chinese Medicine. Its guiding principles have to do with the balance of yin and yang energies and the flow of life energy called chi. 

The Chinese zodiac follows Jupiter's orbit around the sun, which takes about 11.8 years to complete. Each year has its own animal and element. Known as the Wu Xing, the five movements, or five phases, the elements (earth, metal, water, wood, and fire) represent the cycle of life and correspond to the seasons (spring, summer, transitional, fall, and winter). There are 12 animal zodiacs and each one is inherently connected to one of these five elements.

You can calculate your Chinese zodiac sign using the year you were born. The time of year you were born is also a factor. For example, if you were born in February, around the start of the new year, you may have very little of the element of that year because you were conceived and developing under the previous zodiac. 

The year 2021 is a Year of the Ox, which is connected to the Earth element (associated with winter and yin energy). But the year 2021 will be a metal year. So while the Earth element will always be part of the nature of the Ox sign, people who are born in 2021 will be Metal Ox or Golden Ox. Metal's attributes are firmness, rigidity, persistence, strength, and determination. The metal person is controlling, ambitious, forceful, and slightly set in their ways, as metal is very strong. It's important to note, though, that we hold all of the element's energies within us, and they are constantly interacting with the influences of yin and yang. 

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How to bring luck into the Metal Ox year.

The first day of the new year is thought to represent the way you want your life to look. In Chinese culture, people will often take the day off work to focus on relaxing and only doing things that bring them joy. It is ideal to start the year debt-free and surrounded by new clothes, crispy new money in your pocket, good food, and smiling children.

Here are some tips for using the Chinese zodiac and principles of feng shui to invite luck into this first day of the new year and through the rest of 2021:

1. Pay off your debts.

Ideally, you would be able to start the new year without any burdens from the past that keep you from moving forward and accruing wealth. Paying off debt in this day and age is hard, but you can work toward it by paying a little more of a bill today and/or creating a plan to pay off debt and committing to it. You can also give gratitude for the abundance you have from your "debt." So, for example, if you have longer-term debt from a student loan or mortgage, you can express gratitude for your education or home.

2. Wear red.

In Chinese culture, red is the color of good luck and happiness. New brides wear red dresses to signify luck, happiness, and fertility, and on Chinese New Year, money is gifted in red envelopes. Wear something red today, even if it's just some new lipstick.

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3. Make someone happy.

For New Year's, people traditionally gift a red envelope with crispy new money to small children since childhood joy is pure and unconditional.

But we don't need a holiday to help other people; doing good deeds for no reason is something we can do every day!

4. Wear lucky jewelry.

Green jade stone is thought to bring balance and good luck. Green is the color of spring and new energy, and it relates to the heart chakra.

In Asian culture, you'll see many people wearing a jade piece on a gold necklace or sometimes on a red string or a jade bracelet. The stone is thought to protect the person wearing it. Jade is also used in feng shui to promote abundance.

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5. Improve your home's feng shui.

Feng shui is the art and science of placement. Your environment can either support your life force (chi) or diminish it. When stuck energy or negative thoughts build up in the home, they can make us feel uneasy and irritable. But there are plenty of ways to improve feng shui and help the chi flow.

One way to do so is by adding gold accents to your home. Gold is the universal symbol of wealth, recognized in all cultures as precious.

You can also bring in a Fortune Frog or a Money Toad: This statue of a three-legged toad with a coin in its mouth is a feng shui charm that is said to bring wealth and protection. You can place the frog behind your computer screen if that is where you do business or at the entrance of your home. Make sure it's facing inward, as you want the money to flow in. Do not place the frog in the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom. 

Hanging a faceted crystal (which has many sides to reflect light and opportunity and slows down chi) on a red string at the entrance of your home can also help welcome more luck and abundance.

Wishing you happiness, good luck, and prosperity in the year to come!

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