Today is Lantern Day and The End of Chinese New Year

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Today is the last day of Chinese New Year. Many Asian cultures are celebrating worldwide.This is also a day for lovers. It is also the Snow Full Moon !!

Here is another legend of the origins of this much loved holiday.

There once was a maid named Yuan Xiao, who was a maid in the emperor’s palace during the Han Dynasty. One day a man heard her crying as she was about to jump to her death. She was depressed because she never got the chance to see her family so she wanted to die. The man promised to help her see her family again.

To do so, he set up a fortune-telling booth in town and everyone who went seeking their fortune was given the same fortune: a fire would occur on January 15. He said the God of Fire would send a fairy dressed in red to burn down the town. The fairy would be riding a black horse. Then, Yuan Xiao pretended to be the fairy. She came to town Jan. 13 with a decree to give to the Emperor informing him the city would be burned down.

The emperor didn’t know what to do, so he asked the man for advice. He told the emperor that the God of Fire liked to eat tangyuan (湯圓). Tangyuan are sweet, round dumpling made with glutinous rice flour and filled with sweet sesame, peanut, or red bean paste. The man said everyone in town should make tangyuan to worship the God of Fire and also hang red lanterns and light firecrackers. Then, everyone should walk outside to see the decorations.

The emperor followed the instructions. Yuan Xiao’s parents were among the people who came to the emperor’s palace to admire the decorations. While there, they were reunited with Yuan Xiao and the emperor declared the day a success and turned it into an annual holiday. Since Yuan Xiao cooked the best tasting tangyuan, the festival became known as Yuan Xiao.

Today is also a Full Moon, and emotions may be running high, so just relax and light some candles in the evening. Because it is a Full Moon, you may want to write a list of things you want to release from your life on Joss Paper, and tear them up or burn it in a safe place. This allows that energy to be released so you can start anew.

Joss Paper from Asian Market

Joss Paper from Asian Market

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Before The Full Moon Lantern Festival

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We are just a few days before the Lantern Festival and  Full Moon for the year of the Earth Dog. Asian communities all over the globe are shopping and celebrating.

Be sure to pick up your Joss Paper for wishes and Intentions for Midnight on Wednesday, along with your candles, red envelopes, coins and lucky bambo.

This is also the conclusion of the Chinese New Years Celebration.

Thank you for allowing me to share our Chinese New Years Celebration Newsletter. It has been a joy for me to share the culture, traditions, and insights of this Asian holiday season.

your-fortune_sayingimagesMany blessing to you and your family during the year of the Earth Dog

 

Chinese New Year : Day Eight


We are on Day 8 of Chinese New Year !! The Abundance and harmony number. Symbols of luck and wealth are displayed. A bowl of fresh fruit on your dining-room table has long been a symbol of abundance

Tangerines, Oranges, Pomelos: Tangerines and oranges are frequently displayed in homes and stores. Tangerines are symbolic of good luck, and oranges are symbolic of wealth. These symbols have developed through a language pun, the word for tangerine having the same sound as “luck” in Chinese, and the word for orange having the same sound as “wealth”. Pomelos are large pear-shaped grapefruits.

Pomelos

The Tray of Togetherness: Many families keep a tray full of dried fruits, sweets, and candies to welcome guests and relatives who drop by. This tray is called a Chuen-hop, or “tray of togetherness”. Traditionally, it was made up of eight compartments, each of which was filled with a special food item of significance to the New Year season.

We are getting closer to the end of Chinese New Year and Full moon,  Visit your local Chinatown, and pick up some red lanterns.

Enjoy your time with friends and family, eat good food, and create some memories this weekend.

 

Chinese New Year: Day Seven

Today is day  7 of Chinese New Years. In the bible, on the 7th day God rested. To the Chinese, this is the Birthday of all Humans!  So, I think a birthday cake is in short order. The Chinese believe in order for you to have a good life, you must eat good food, so you can go to work, and give your job the best effort possible. Day 7 & * are ” Foodie Heaven” days.

The Farmer’s Market will be buzzing with people preparing for fresh and healthy meals today. There is also a traditional drink that is made from 7 fruits and vegetables and consumed on this day. I wonder if that is where the famous juice V8 came from?

Another traditional food that is eaten on this day is Raw fish (  symbolic for success ) and Noodles ( symbolic for longevity).

What to do today:

  • Have Cake
  • Have a big bowl of noodles
  • Have a 7 Juice Drink……….Foodie Heaven !!

Day Six of Chinese New Year

 

“Fu” is certainly a lucky word for Chinese. It means fortune, luck, blessings and happiness. The tradition of pasting the character “Fu” on walls, doors and doorposts especially during Chinese New Year has existed among Chinese for such a long time. Chinese like to paste the “Fu” character calligraphed on red paper upside down intentionally.

Fu(福) is written on the paper squares, which can be pasted normally or upside down, for in Chinese the “reversed fu” is homophonic with “fu dao le” pronounced as “fu comes”. The upside down fu becomes a pun that implies “good fortune has arrived”. Thus, the paper squares represent the “arrival” of spring and the “coming” of a prosperous year.

The two  legends of the origin of Upside-down “Fu” Character

It also said that Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (founder of Ming dynasty) once used the character “fu(福)” as a hidden signal to prepare killing someone. The kind-hearted Empress Ma decided to eliminate the tragedy of killing, so she ordered everyone in the city to put a label with the character “fu 福” on the door of their house before the sun rises the next day.

Everyone followed Empress Ma´s order, but one family is illiterate and pasted the label with the character “fu 福” upside down. On the 2nd day, the emperor ordered his officer to go to the city and found that every family had pasted the label with the character “fu 福”, and with one family having the character “fu 福” upside down.

The emperor was very angry and ordered that family be executed. Empress Ma realized the incidence and told the emperor “that family knew you´re coming today, so purposely turn the label upside down. Isn´t that the same meaning as ´Luck arrives´?” After hearing this, the emperor immediately released the family and a tragedy was averted. From then on, people began to paste the label with the character “fu 福” with the purpose of hoping for auspiciousness, and another to honor Empress Ma.

Here is the other Legend…………………

During Spring Festival originate in Jiang Ziya of the Zhou Dynasty (11th Century-256 B.C.). When Jiang Ziya was made a god, his wife demanded to be made a goddess. “After I married you I was always in poverty in my life,” Lord Jiang said. “Seems you are destined to be poor. So let me appoint you as the Goddess of Poverty.”

Not knowing what being the Goddess of Poverty held in store for her, his wife was nevertheless happy about becoming a goddess. Cheerfully, she asked, “Now that I´m the Goddess of Poverty, where shall be my domain?” Jiang replied, “You are off limits wherever there is good fortune.”

When the residents got word of Jiang´s instruction, they wrote the character “fu”on paper and pasted it on the doors and windows of their houses to keep the Goddess of Poverty away. Thus pasting ´fu” during the Spring Festival became a Chinese tradition.

Have some fun today!

Print this blog post, and print out the different variations of “Fu”. Then hang it upside down and pace in a window or on your door.

Stay Golden, Janet