Chinese New Year began on Feb. 12 this year. According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2021 is the Year of the Metal Ox. Also known as Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a day to send wishes for a good planting and harvest. The day prior is dedicated to cleaning — designed to sweep away bad luck and make room for good. Why not celebrate the holiday yourself this year? Many of the traditional customs and practices are not only fun, but functional as well.
Get a jump on spring cleaning by ensuring it is spotless from top to bottom, to encourage good luck in the coming year. Make sure entryways are clear and throw away any broken items: toys, dishes, etc.
Treat yourself to some blooming flowers. They’re a symbol of rebirth and an instant mood booster. Lucky flowers for the year of the Ox are Lily of the Valley and Lucky Bamboo.
The Chinese believe the color red will scare away monsters and bad luck. For this reason, it is customary to decorate with lots of red lanterns, and hang New Year or Spring Couplets in your windows and doorways. These vertical banners feature lucky verses written in black or gold ink on red paper. Similarly, it’s traditional to give red envelopes or packets (lai-si) containing “lucky money” or treats to friends and family.
Feng shui experts recommend using colors like gold and grey in the year of the Metal Ox. Putting a gold pumpkin on your nightstand is said to bring luck and money, as well as protect against illness.
In China, the practices and rituals performed during the New Year festivities involving tea vary by region. One popular practice is the serving of sweet tea to the eldest generation by the next generation. If there are grandchildren, they then follow suit, serving first their grandparents, then their parents.
Another way some people in China make their tea a little special during this time is to place small sweet things in the teacups, such as candied shredded coconut, candied kumquat or candied carrot. Each carries a specific auspicious meaning.However you choose to celebrate the Chinese New Year, may the year of the Metal Ox find you resilient and embracing your inner strength and stamina. May this year bring you health and good fortune!