Rituals and Practices to welcome in 2019 the Year of the Earth Boar

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Chinese New Year is the most important festival for the Chinese where the Eve and the first 15 days of the New Year are the most important. It is believed that both your attitude and behaviour throughout the 15 days will have a strong impact on how your year will turn out. Each of the 15 days has strong affinity with particular animal signs, which means that each day has the potential to be very auspicious for one or more signs.

Eve of Chinese New Year (4th February 2019)

Today is also Lap Chun – the first day of spring – which brings the promise of new beginnings and powerful growth energy. Although Chinese New Year starts after the Lap Chun, making 2019 a year that lacks spring or “growth” energy, you can still make full use of the fact that Lap Chun falls on the eve of Chinese New Year.

All you need to do is to make sure that you completely clean your house once again on the early morning, starting from the hour of the Tiger (3am – 5am) or the hour of the Rabbit (5am – 7am). You should light some incense to help cleanse the air as well as provide some offerings to your house gods, local gods and landlords. Today is the last day that you can mop, sweep or clean your house for the following 3 days (as cleaning during the first 3 days of Chinese New Year is believed to remove good luck from the home). You should keep all of your mops and brooms away in the cupboard before the hour of the Boar (9pm – 11pm) on CNY Eve.

On this day, it is customary for all members of your immediate family to share a good meal together. There are a number of important dishes which should be served during this dinner.

  • The most important would be a sticky rice dish, as this symbolizes family members staying close to each other, enhancing family cohesiveness.
  • There should also be a dish of long-life noodles, as eating this dish on the eve of New Year brings family members good health and a long life to the Patriarch.
  • There should be a prawn dish, which carries the meaning of ‘Ha Ha Siu’ – a life filled with laughter and joy.
  • There should also be a chicken dish, which symbolizes prosperity and togetherness of the family.
  • There should be a mixed vegetable dish with sweet corn (symbolizing growth), Lotus Seeds/ Lotus Roots (symbolizing a full wallet and many male offspring), Black Fungus Mushroom (Longevity), Golden Lily Buds (also known as ‘golden needles’ – symbolizing wealth), Cashew Nuts (the nut’s shape symbolizes a gold bar in ancient times, bringing wealth), Clams or Scallops (symbolizing the opening of new horizons) and White Cabbage (known as ‘Pak Choi’ – 100 types of prosperity luck)
  • There should be a Duck dish, such as roast duck or braised duck.
  • There must be a Fish dish, as this carries the meaning of abundance.
  • At the end of the meal, there should be a sweet dessert served, so that at the end of every endeavour, there will be a sweet ending.

All the lights of your home should be switched on before sundown and all windows kept open. After the Reunion dinner, it is important the family spends time together, united until at least 1 hour past the stroke of midnight. Younger members of the family should greet their elders with auspicious greetings so as to greet in the luck of the New Year. Firecrackers are traditionally set off at this time to welcome in the New Year with as much noise as possible to scare away any bad luck, and to create plenty of prosperity chi.

Prayers to either the God of Wealth, the God of Happiness or the God of Mentors should be performed, and after the prayers are done, the Good Fortune Lock Amulet should be placed underneath the pillows of every member of the family to ensure that the family prospers together.

Chinese New Year (5th February 2019)

Today, being the first day of new year, it is forbidden to sweep the floor. There should be no bathing (until 12 noon), no washing of your hair, you cannot get angry, cry or use vulgar language, and you should not drink anything bitter.

You should wake up early and dress in your new clothes (preferably with something red). Family members should gather together in front of the family altar and offer incense to their home deities and ancestors. After that, younger members of the family should offer their elders a cup of “8 precious sweets” tea and wish them ‘Kung Hei Fatt Choi’.

“8 Precious Sweets” Tea

Ingredients:
• 8 pieces of red Dates
• 8 pieces of candied Winter Melon
• 8 pieces of Rock Sugar
• 8 slices of candied Kumquat or candied Tangerine
• 8 pieces of candied Plums
• 8 pieces of dried Longan
• 8 pieces of dried Figs
• 8 slices of dried Pears
• 8 cups of water
Method:
Boil all the above for 5 minutes, strain and serve. Add more water if necessary. Tea should be sweet and fragrant.

It is best to be vegetarian today (at least till the hour of the Horse 11.00am – 1.00pm). It is also a good day to visit a 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 will bring to you. As this day falls on the day of the Rooster, which conflicts with the Rabbit, all those born in the year of the Rabbit must avoid eating Meat (it is recommended to be vegetarian for the day) and to avoid antagonizing or quarrelling with any Rooster-born.

Homes that have main doors opening to the South and Southeast are deemed most auspicious, and such homes should host home parties on this day so as to maximize their luck. Good hours to have your open house today will be from 11.00 am – 3.00 pm.

2nd day of Chinese New Year (6th February 2019)

This day is known as ‘Hoi Nian’. Being the 2nd day of the year, it is an important day for businessmen to make an offering to their business partners of cases of oranges. This carries the meaning of “Tai Kat Tai Lei” – an auspicious and smooth year and continuous growth of wealth. It is also customary for elders to offer their friends and business partners a slice of “Lian Quo” (Sticky Rice cake) symbolizing the cementing of their profitable partnerships and friendships.

Today is also a good day to pay your respects to your ancestors. This is traditionally a day when married children visit their paternal parents. Today is also known as the birthday for all Dogs, and if you are kind to a Dog today, it is believed you will gain new friends in the year and get some good news.

As the element of the day is Water, which represents Power and Authority, those born in the year of the Horse should start work today.

3rd day of Chinese New Year (7th February 2019)

Today is known as the Birthday of the Argument God (Chi Gou – God of Blazing Wrath). It is believed that if you go out today, there is a high chance that many people will want to argue or fight with you. Thus it is recommended to stay home today. If your need to go out, or work, you should cultivate more patience and control your temper. You should also carry the Apple Peace and Harmony Amulet with you or clip onto your bag. Those born in the year of the Snake should stay home, as it is a conflict day for you. This is a good day for those born in years of the Tiger, Sheep or Rabbit.

4th day of Chinese New Year (8th February 2019)

Today is also the day that your home Deities are believed to come back from their visit to the Yellow Emperor. Therefore it is customary to give generous offerings to the home Deities on this day. Suitable things to be offered include Green Banana, Dried Mushroom, Spring Onions, White Cabbage, Garlic Bulbs, Pineapples, Peanuts, Apples, Pears, Oranges, Apricots, Plums, Flowers and Candy.

This is an auspicious day for homes with doors opening to the South, Southwest or West, and lion dances should be done for these homes on this day.

This is a day for parents to pray for their children to study well and to score good grades. The Taoist would pray to Lord Wen Chang aka Wen Chang Di Jun while carrying Spring Onion, Garlic and Celery. This is a good day for displaying the Wisdom Pagoda on your child’s study desk.

5th day of Chinese New Year (9th February 2019)

This is the day of the Ox, and for business owners, it is a good day for having a lion dance along with prosperity rituals such as ‘rolling of oranges into the office’. This is also a good day for businesses in competitive markets to invite an image of the 9 Dragon General Kuan Kung into the office. Homes or offices with main doors opening to the Northwest, North or Northeast will also benefit from having a lion dance today.

6th day of Chinese New Year (10th February 2019)

The Lo Shu of the day is 6 and favours homes that face South or West. The day is also blessed with Peach Blossom Luck, so the single or unmarried should go to the temple and pray to Yue Lao for a partner. The day favours the Tiger, and those born in the year of the Monkey should do some prayers at the temple.

7th day of Chinese New Year (11th February 2019)

Today is ‘Ren Re’ – everyone’s birthday. For businessmen, it is a good day for feasting and eating ‘Yue Sang’ with friends and clients.

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For Buddhists, this is another vegetarian day. A traditional vegetarian dish to eat today combines 7 kinds of vegetable 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.

This is an auspicious day for the Rabbit, Dog and Boar, as you will have the luck to make your wishes come true. This is also a good day for making fresh investments. Homes with doors facing Northwest, Northeast or Southeast are very lucky today.

8th day of Chinese New Year (12th February 2019)

Do have another family reunion dinner if you are of Hokkien origin. It is customary to eat dinner together on this day.

Homes with main doors facing Southwest and Northeast are especially lucky today, and those living within such homes should invite their friends over to celebrate. However, it is important that you have the Tri-Coloured 5 Element Pagoda placed in the Southwest, the Pair of Carp placed in the center and the Goddess Kuan Yin with Garuda placed in the Northeast.

It is not a good day for the Dog-born. Today benefits the Rat, Monkey and Dragon, who should make special prayers for enhancing their careers.

9th day of Chinese New Year (13th February 2019)

Today is the Birthday of the Jade Emperor and it is an important date for the people of Hokkien origin. Typical offerings on the midnight of the 8th day (Rat Hour – 11pm – 1.00am) includes a pair of sugar canes, Incense, 7 cups of Chinese Tea, 7 cups of Rice Wine, 7 plates of fresh fruits, a Roast Pig, 2 Bouquet of Flowers, and Gold Joss Paper folded in the shape of ingots is often burnt as offering.

Traditional belief says that 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.

10th day of Chinese New Year (14th February 2019)

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

Homes that face East, and North will be most beneficial if you wish to gamble and win.

11th day of Chinese New Year (15th February 2019)

Today is another good day for visitation and celebrations as well as for starting work. As the Lo Shu of the day is 2, you should avoid overeating or drinking to excess. A suitable day for catching up with old friends and classmates. Homes with doors facing Southwest or South will be most fortunate today.

12th day of Chinese New Year (16th February 2019)

Today is another good day for visitation and celebrations as well as for starting work. As the Lo Shu of the day is 3, you should pay extra attention when driving especially if you born in the year of the Monkey, Snake or Tiger. Cultivate more patience today and avoid getting into arguments.

13th day of Chinese New Year (17th February 2019)

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

14th day of Chinese New Year (18th February 2019)

Preparations are made for celebrating Chap Goh Meh. These include making ‘Tong Yuen’ (Rice balls) – these are sweet dumplings made from rice flour rolled into the shape of marbles and filled with sweet fillings such as Sesame seeds, Lotus seeds, Peanuts, and Red Bean Paste. The dumplings are served in a sweet soup cooked with ginger. It is a very good day for visiting your relatives.

As the Lo Shu number today is 5, you should carry the Tri-Coloured 5 Element Pagoda Amulet today.

Chap Goh Meh – Last day of Chinese New Year (19th February 2019)

9-Tailed White Fox Amulet

This is also known as “Yuen Xiao” – Chinese Valentine’s day. In the past, it is traditional for single women to toss oranges written with descriptions of their desired partner into the river to seek a husband. However, in today’s modern practice, men are also known to practise this in order to find a suitable wife.

Candles are lit in paper lanterns and hung up on the outside of the home, 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 written with their wishes are set free to soar into the heavens in search of their potential mates.

Carry the 9 Tail Fox Amulet keychain to help meet your potential new partner.