For those of us who love to celebrate, the Chinese New Year is just around the corner -- The Year of the Monkey! Be flexible, adaptable and ready to leap into the proverbial abyss, as the monkey can be as tricky as the coyote. January 22,2004 is the first day in the Year of the Monkey. It is Year 4701 by Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year is a 15-day Celebration, with each day devoted to a particular aspect, according to the Chinese Cultural website:
The first day of the Lunar New Year is "the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth." Many people abstain from meat on the first day of the new year because it is believed that this will ensure long and happy lives for them.
On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs. (Happy Birthday Zeus & Tia!)
The third and fourth days are for the sons-in-laws to pay respect to their parents-in-law.
The fifth day is called Po Woo. On that day people stay home to welcome the God of Wealth. No one visits families and friends on the fifth day because it will bring both parties bad luck.
On the sixth to the 10th day, the Chinese visit their relatives, friends, and the temples to pray for good fortune and health.
The seventh day of the New Year is the day for farmers to display their produce. The farmers make a drink from seven types of vegetables to celebrate the occasion. The seventh day is also considered the birthday of human beings. Noodles are eaten to promote longevity and raw fish for success.
On the eighth day the Fujian people have another family reunion dinner, and at midnight they pray to Tian Gong, the God of Heaven.
The ninth day is to make offerings to the Jade Emperor.
The 10th through the 12th are days to have friends and relatives over for dinner.
After so much rich food, on the 13th day you should have simple rice congee and mustard greens (choi sum) to cleanse the system.
The 14th day is for preparations to celebrate the Lantern Festival which is held on the 15th night.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!