Chinese New Year Rituals for 2024: Year of the Wood Dragon

Chinese New Year falls on February 10th 2024. One of the most important days in the Lunar Calendar, it is a day when tradition is best observed as faithfully as possible to ensure that abundance and prosperity follow you all through the year.

Chinese New Year is so important that preparations begin as early as a month before the new moon appears. There will be new clothes to buy, new furniture to bring in, food to prepare, home repairs to do, flowers to order and altars to clean – everything just to make sure that the house gets a thorough spring cleaning and is ready to welcome in all the best energies by the time Chinese New Year arrives.

It is then celebrated over all 15 days of the first full moon, with special rituals associated with specific days.

THINGS TO GET DONE BEFORE CHINESE NEW YEAR

1. Make repairs

Start by checking your home for defects and ensuring that things are working well. Repair leaking toilets, broken faucets, broken roof tiles, leaking ceilings and so on, as leaking water implies loss of wealth, as well as loss of health. Cracked walls and broken doorways can cause serious problems when carried into the New Year. Anything affecting the kitchen or dining room can also have a nasty impact on your rice bowl. Other critical areas to repair include the main door area and your bedroom.

If you can, you should give your home a fresh coat of paint every 4 – 5 years in order to start the year with a clean slate and make way for new opportunities for improvement. Focus on decluttering your home of last year’s “rubbish”; get rid of old newspapers, magazines, books, plastic bags, broken containers and clothes you want to throw out. Allowing clutter to build up will only aggravate or worsen any problems that you face.

Go through your cutlery and plates, cups, bowls and serving dishes, and dispose of the ones that are chipped or cracked. Damaged utensils are a sign of broken luck and they bring the home Bad Feng Shui. This affects the prosperity of the family.

Check your beds for damage. Sleeping on damaged or broken beds will bring obstacles and blockages to everything you do. Success will be afflicted when the bed frame is damaged. This also creates a rift in your marriage.

Inspect cupboards and drawers for mismatched socks, torn or thread-worn undergarments, shirts, pants and damaged shoes. Dispose of clothes you have not worn in more than a year. Clearing the cupboard symbolizes removing negative energies and creates space for NEW things to come to you.

2. Restock your kitchen

It is most auspicious to enter the New Year with a completely restocked kitchen. Remove and dispose of any expired food stuff. Clean out your rice urn, wash and dry it, then place a red packet with 3 dynasty coins tied with red thread at the base, and fill it to the brim with new rice. Keep your rice urn at least three quarters full throughout the 15 days of Chinese New Year. Next, stock up the pantry and refrigerator for Chinese New Year, as it is important that there is food in the home to last the 15 days.

3. Bring in growth energy

2024 is a year when Chinese New Year occurs after Lap Chun. To introduce excellent growth chi into the home, you should decorate it with fruiting lime trees and flowering plants before January 25th. This will invite in fresh new opportunities for wealth and career progress to all at home.

4. Put up auspicious symbols of good fortune

Fill the home with auspicious symbols of good fortune to add more luck. This can be done with throw pillows and carpets. Auspicious sonnets, especially with the Chinese word “Fuk”, meaning good fortune, are commonly strung up at the entrance of homes, along with some red lanterns as well.

5. Update the feng shui of your home

The feng shui of your home should be updated between December 21st 2023 (Winter Solstice) and February 4th 2024, which is the start of the solar year. Winter Solstice marks the changing of the Tai Sui. It is also when the Three Killings of 2024 begins to take effect. The annual Flying Stars take effect on February 4th, which is Lap Chun.

If you are planning to reuse your feng shui cures, you need to wipe them clean with a damp cloth soaked in cleansing water. BUT IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO USE NEW CURES. The enhancers can be reused twice, but do realize that remedies work by absorbing bad energies from the past year, which need cleansing before reuse. Once you have updated the feng shui of your home, you should perform the space cleansing ritual.

6. How to prepare cleansing water

You need flower petals from 5 kinds of flowers (best if you can get flowers representing the 5 elements – Blue for Water, Yellow for Earth, Green for Wood, Red for Fire and White for Metal) and leaves from the Kaffir lime (you can use lime or lemon leaves if you cannot get Kaffir leaves). Soak these in a bowl of water with 1 tablespoon of sea salt and place them in the sun for 10 minutes before using. Rinse your cleaning cloth in the mixture, squeeze dry then wipe all your remedies, enhancers, and auspicious good luck charms, as well as all symbols of good fortune in your home. You can also use this water to clean your home altar, statues and figurines.

7. How to perform a space cleansing ritual

Open all your windows and doors, and switch on all the lights. It is best to do this in the daytime. Light some Period 9 Incense mixed with 1 tablespoon of Purifying Incense Powder in an incense burner. Then, with the burning incense, walk around each room 7 times in a clockwise direction while chanting the corresponding mantras and visualizing the negative energy coming off your walls. You can also ring the 7 Metals Ringing Bell or stroke Singing Bowls for enhanced effect.

Leave the doors and windows open for at least one hour after the ritual to allow bad energies to exit and good energies to permeate the home as the incense dissipates.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR THE FIRST 15 DAYS OF CHINESE NEW YEAR

Eve of Chinese New Year (9th February 2024)

Prepare a welcome tray of togetherness today. This is a special box filled with an assortment of sweets, biscuits, melon seed, candies and oranges, for anyone who might drop by during the 15 days of the New Year.

A typical REUNION DINNER must have a minimum of 8 dishes and comprise the following ingredients, because of their symbolic meanings:-

  • Luo Han Zhai (Buddha’s delight) – is a vegetarian dish made with “Fatt Choy” (a type of black hair fungus – means prosperity), Bamboo Shoots (brings wealth), Day Lily Buds (“Kan Cham Ku” – means golden needles), Napa Cabbage (“Pao Choy” – means guaranteed success) and other assorted vegetables. This dish is to serve notice to members of the family of purity of mind and togetherness in good karma.
  • A Fish Dish – usually steamed fish as fish carries the meaning of Lin Lin Yao Yue – this means that your ENTIRE year will be filled with an abundance of good fortune.
  • A Chicken Dish – indicates happiness and a happy marriage, while having a Duck dish means marital fidelity and good children.
  • Big Prawns, or better still, a Lobster – this carries the meaning of Ha Ha Tai Siew – means there will always be lots of laughter in the
  • Abalone, Scallops, Clams and Dried Oysters – indicates a bountiful harvest in business, good profits and excellent sales.
  • Braised Pork with Sticky Rice – this dish indicates that your family will always be together, sharing their successes and good fortune with each other.
  • Long Life Noodles – indicates longevity for all in the family.
  • A Sweet Dessert – such as those made with peanuts or red beans. This is served with a simple dumpling “Jiaozi” to represent your family always having good endings to every endeavor.
  • Fruits such as Pomelo, Grapes and Oranges are a must, as these fruits symbolise prosperity and abundance of wealth and opportunity.

TABOOS OF THE DAY:

  • No sweeping of the floor after 10.00 pm
  • Avoid getting angry or raising your voice at others.
  • Avoid using vulgarities or insulting others.
  • Avoid saying anything negative or crying.
  • All the lights of your home should be switched on before sundown and all windows should be open. After reunion dinner, it is important that the family spend time together, and be united until the stroke of midnight. Members of the family should greet each other with auspicious greetings and good luck wishes. You should also keep the main door open, to greet the luck of the New Year.
  • Firecrackers are traditionally set off at this time to welcome the New Year with as much noise as possible, to scare away any bad luck, and to create plenty of prosperous chi.
  • Prayers to the God of Wealth and Happiness should be performed, and after the prayers are done, the Wealth Lock Coin should be placed on the altar table as well as underneath the pillows of every member of the family, to ensure that the family prospers together.
  • A plate of charcoal as well as a plate of roasted garlic is a must-have for your home altar on this day. Charcoal represents support for your business, while roasted garlic represents plenty of business opportunities.

DOOR DIRECTIONS TO TAKE NOTE OF :

Take note of your door directions during the 1st Day of Chinese New Year (10th February 2024). (Try not to use the door if it is facing a bad direction.

It is auspicious to welcome in the God of Wealth on the 1st Day of Chinese New Year coming from the Northeast direction.

LUCKY DIRECTIONS
God of Wealth: Northeast
God of Mentors: Southwest
God of Happiness: Northeast
UNLUCKY DIRECTIONS
5 Ghost: Southeast
Death Door: Southeast

1st day of Chinese New Year (10th February 2024)

Wake up early today, preferably before sunrise, and after cleaning up, put on a new set of clothes. Make sure that you wear something red to wish your family members a happy Chinese New Year, and offer them a cup of sweet tea. This practice ensures that relationships with your family members will always be on good terms, and that you will only hear good news from their lips throughout the whole year.

8 Treasures Sweet Tea

Ingredients:

  • 50 grams sweet dry winter melon
  • 3 pieces dried Kum Kuats
  • 50 grams dried Longan
  • 3 pieces Lo Hon Ko
  • 8 pieces Red Dates
  • 8 pieces Black Dates
  • 8 pieces Lin Jee
  • 50 grams Pak Hap

Directions:

Boil the above with 8 glasses of water for 10 minutes on medium heat. Strain, cool and serve.

TABOOS OF THE DAY – Must not get angry, must not cry, and must not sweep the floor.

It is best to be vegetarian today, at least till the hour of the Sheep, which is from 1.00pm to 3.00pm. Also a good day to visit the temple and to offer prayers.

Married couples should give red packets to younger unmarried people that they meet today. Many people observe this practice for all 15 days of the New Year. It is believed that the more red packets you give out, the more money the year brings to you.

As this day falls on the day of the Dragon, all Earth animal signs – Dragon, Dog, Ox and Sheep – must avoid eating meat (preferably be vegetarian for the day). You should also avoid antagonizing or quarreling with people born under Rabbit, Horse, Rooster or Rat signs.

Homes with main doors opening to the North, South, Northeast or Northwest are deemed very auspicious, and they should host home parties on this day to maximize their luck. Good hours to start your open house or party today will be from 9.00am – 11.00am, and 5:00pm – 9:00pm.

Homes with main doors opening to the East or Southwest must avoid any celebration today.

2nd day of Chinese New Year (11th February 2024) – ‘Hoi Nan’

This day is known as ‘Hoi Nian’. Being the 2nd day of the year, it is beneficial for businessmen to offer at their home altar, a grass carp with its head wrapped with red paper and 2 pieces of Lime on the right side, and a bunch of Fresh Lettuce (Shang Choi). – This carries the meaning of “Tai Kat Tai Ley” – an auspicious and smooth year and continuous growth of wealth.

It is also customary to offer visiting friends and business partners a slice of steamed “Lian Quo” coated with grated coconut to cement profitable partnerships and friendships.

Today is an average day to start work except for those born in the year of the Boar, and a good day to pay respects to your ancestors. This is also traditionally a day when married children visit their paternal parents.

3rd day of Chinese New Year (12th February 2024)

Today is the birthday of the Argument God (Chi Gou – God of Blazing Wrath). If you go out today, you are likely to get into an argument or fight. Those born in years of the Rat, Rooster and Horse should stay home to avoid getting caught up in a conflict. Place 3 Harmony Animals in the center of your living and dining rooms to strengthen peace in the household.

Make generous offerings on your altar today. Suitable items include Bananas, Dried Mushroom, Spring Onions, White Cabbage, Garlic Bulbs, Pineapples, Peanuts, Apples, Pears, Oranges, Apricots, Plums, Flowers and Candy.

4th day of Chinese New Year (13th February 2024)

An excellent day to perform prayers for your children. Taoists pray to Lord Wen Chang aka Wen Chang Di Jun, one of five deities that take care of all academic issues for students. Place the Scholar with Eagle Plaque or 9 Level Pagoda on your children’s study table to ensure a successful academic year ahead.

Today is a good day to have a Lion Dance if your home faces East, West or Northwest. An average day to start work except for those born in the year of the Ox.

5th day of Chinese New Year (14th February 2024)

Today is an auspicious day to do good deeds, and to offer prayers at the temple. This is the day of the Monkey, and for business owners, it is a good day to invite Kuan Kung into the office.

It is also a good day for business owners and those living in Southeast, Southwest or Northwest-facing homes to bring the Lion Dancers in, and to perform prosperity rituals such as the ‘rolling in of oranges’.

6th day of Chinese New Year 15th February 2024)

This is a good day for the Rooster and an excellent one for celebrations of all kinds. Gambling is a popular activity on this day. However, one should avoid drinking to excess. Homes that face East, Southeast or North should have their Lion Dance scheduled for today.

7th day of Chinese New Year (16th February 2024) – Everyone’s Birthday

Today is ‘Ren Re’ – Everyone’s Birthday. For businessmen, it is a good day for feasting and eating ‘Yue Sang’ with friends and clients. A lucky day for those born in years of the Rabbit and Dog. Homes that face South, Southwest and East should have their Lion Dance Performance today.

For Buddhists, this is another vegetarian day. A traditional vegetarian dish to eat today combines 7 kinds of vegetables in one bowl – Green Peas, Celery, Spinach, Broccoli, Lettuce, Grape and Chives (“Guo Choi”) in a dish eaten with plain rice porridge. This ensures you will always have an abundance of food to eat.

Today is a good day to start work, except for those born in the year of the Dragon.

8th day of Chinese New Year (17th February 2024)

Good day to pray to the God of Heaven. Homes with main doors facing Southwest, Northeast and North are especially lucky and should invite friends over to celebrate. It is not a good day for the Snake-born. An average day to start work, but not for the Snake person.

9th day of Chinese New Year (18th February 2024)

Today is the Birthday of the Jade Emperor, and an important date for the people of Hokkien origin. Typical offerings on the midnight of the 8th day (Rat Hour) include a pair of Sugar Cane, Joss Sticks, 7 cups of Chinese Tea, 7 cups of Rice Wine, 7 plates of Fresh Fruits, a Roast Pig, 2 bouquets of Flowers, and Gold Paper folded into the shape of an ingot that is burnt.

If the morning of the 9th day is sunny with clear skies, it indicates a year of big profits, while a day of cloudy skies and rain indicates potential loss.

This is an average day for starting work; it is especially auspicious for the Rat and conflicts the Horse. Homes with doors that open to the Southeast, Northeast and Northwest should have their lion dance performance today.

10th to 12th day of Chinese New Year (19th February 2024 – 21st February 2024)

These 3 days are suitable for additional feasting with friends and family. A good time for renewing old friendships and making new contacts. This is because the early days are reserved for family, so friends and networking are given more priority during these 3 days.

The 11th day is a lucky day for everyone except the Monkey-born to start work.

13th day of Chinese New Year (22nd February 2024)

After so many days of feasting and eating rich food, it is good to have vegetarian food today to cleanse the stomach. A popular vegetarian breakfast would consist of hot soybean milk, eaten with savory ‘Ham Chim Peng’ – (Asian fried bread).

A good day for those born in the years of the Rooster and Dragon.

14th day of Chinese New Year (23rd February 2024)

Preparations are made for celebrating Chap Goh Meh. These include making ‘Tong Yuen’ or rice balls; soft dumplings filled with sweet fillings such as sesame seed, lotus seed, peanut or red bean paste. The dumplings are served in a sweet soup cooked with ginger. A very good day to visit relatives.

Chap Goh Meh – Last day of Chinese New Year (24th February 2024)

This is also known as “Yuen Xiao”, the Chinese Peach Blossom Day which benefits all couples in love. In the past, single women would toss oranges written with descriptions of their desired partner into the river to seek a husband. However, in today’s modern world, men are also known to practise this to find a suitable wife. Candles are lit in a paper lantern and hung up on the outside of homes, and “Tong Yuen” is often eaten as dessert on the final celebration dinner of the year. In areas where a river is not available, Sky Lanterns with wishes written upon them are set free to soar into the heavens in search for potential mates. This is another good day to be vegetarian.