Happy Chinese Lunar new Year of the Wood Ram, "木羊吉祥". For 2015, Chinese Lunar New Year falls on February 19
As we know, Chinese New Year has become almost a global holiday these days with overseas Chinese celebrating this holiday in different countries and towns inviting their western families and friends to join in. It has become an international festival event and much commercialized. Most of us have seen performances of Dragon or Lion Dance, fancy dress parades; and may even have participated in these celebrations. But what do ordinary Chinese folks do on this special day of the year? Well, we can't all do the Dragon or Lion Dance, and we can't all join a parade in China Town. But the core cultural aspect of this day is always "remembrance" and "paying respect" to our roots from the old traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.
For most Chinese, the family ritual of ancestor worship on New Year's Eve is very important. While many live in different parts of the world, we set up our own ancestor altars for the ceremony. Back home in China, in small villages where everyone has the same last name, there is usually an Ancestor Hall, like a family association where name plagues of departed loved ones are displayed. It is also where the younger generations go to show respect and make offerings when they return home to visit. A few years ago, I went home to my father's village and paid my respect to all Huang Ancestors in a special ritual at the Hall.
Before Chinese New Year, we need to clean our houses, pay debts, and prepare food for the annual family reunion feast. Firecrackers are purchased in readiness to make the first loud noise after midnight to chase away old evils and bad luck, red color lanterns are hung, and red paper cuttings with intricate auspicious images are pasted on windows, and doors. Red is the favorite color because it represents life force, happiness and good fortune. Symbols of Fish, Uncut Long Noodles, Fruits, Babies, Seeds, and Spring Flowers indicate renewal, abundance, growth and everlasting life.
On Chinese New Year morning folks dress up in new clothes and carry gifts to visit relatives, neighbors to exchange good luck greetings. Food and beverages are served all day long and firecrackers will go off all over the place. Growing up in China, we loved this day because we also receive gifts of money in Red Envelopes decorated with gold auspicious images. This is the one day we were given sweets, snacks and oranges for good luck from our elders and nobody scolded us for eating too much.
For this year of the Wood Ram, my Chinese Farmer's Almanac predicts a much relaxed and mellow year. People under the Zodiac sign of the Ram are good natured, easy going and joyful. Of course, there will be challenges, but we may find easier ways to get through them and be less stressful. To follow this benevolent and easy-going energy of the Year of the Ram, one of the main focus for Ru Yi Studio this year is to be "at ease", and follow the Tao of Nature to discover all the good qualities in our true nature.
Pearl Weng Liang Huang, Founder of