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The First New Moon of the Year: Chinese New Year

This most special holiday for Chinese all over the world is a “moveable feast,” as it occurs on the second new moon after the shortest day of the year (the winter solstice, December 21) and lasts about two weeks. According to the Western calendar, this means the holiday begins sometime in either late January or early February. Tradition holds that homes must be cleaned from top to bottom in preparation for the festivities. On New Year’s Eve, families get together for a banquet, and at this feast fish is the dish of delight, as the Chinese word for “fish” sounds like yu, or “great plenty.” Red is the color of luck and all children receive red envelopes filled with money and bright, shining moon-like coins. Adults write “spring couplets” on red paper; these are short poems that are hung around the doorway to greet the New Year auspiciously. Oranges are placed around the house in bowls and plates and blooming plants adorn the home both indoors and out. All generations of the extended Chinese family, from great-grandmother to the tiniest toddler, stay up late playing games, telling stories and making wishes for the New Year. They call this most auspicious time of the year “Hong Bau,” and apply the ancient and sacred principles of feng shui in a celebration of love and luck. Gather red envelopes, coins and paper money. The Chinese call the red envelopes lee sees.

On the actual day of the Chinese New Year, go around to your neighbors, friends and family with red envelopes containing money. If you are like me, bright, shiny coins are what you can easily afford to give instead of envelopes stuffed with paper money. With each gift, greet folks with Gung Hey Fat Choy, which means “Wishing you prosperity and health.”

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

I touch the earth and offer gratitude
 for this land I call home.
I reach towards the sky and offer gratitude
for sun, moon, and stars.

I place my hand on my heart
and breathe deep, offering gratitude

for all that I am and all that I have
and for the many blessings of my life…

As we reach the celebration of First Fruits, Lammas, on August 1 (or August 7), it is a beautiful time to reflect on the abundance in your life, the bounty around you, and that which you are harvesting or savoring.

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