Monday, January 23, 2012
OCD & Rituals of Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year begins today, January 23, 2012, on the new moon, and is the biggest holiday in China. This one is particularly big, as the Dragon year is the most auspicious and popular of all.
According to www.chinesefortunecalendar.com legend has it that dragons come from heaven and 9 of them were sent to help the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. When it was time for them to return, the emperor tried to keep them by putting the 6th dragon under a magic spell so he couldn't leave. The other dragons wouldn't return without him, but they all refused to work for the Emperor and changed their identities and remained in China.
Since then, they have been used as symbols:
Dragon #1 is carved into music instruments, such as violins.
Dragon #2 is on many different handles of weapons.
Dragon #3 is the symbol of safety, harmony and peace.
Dragon#4 can be found on the big bells as a symbol of protection and alertness.
Dragon #5 s the symbol of fire and smoke. His image is often found in temples and on incense burners.
Dragon #6 is a symbol of strength, longevity, and good luck.
Dragon #7's symbol can be found in law offices, courts, and jails.
Dragon #8 is the symbol of knowledge or education and can often be found on books.
Dragon #9 is the water dragon, and is the symbol used to prevent fire and disasters.
Chinese New Year is celebrated for weeks and there is much preparation. Chinese history is steeped in traditions, and as the Water Dragon is the luckiest year of all in Chinese culture, it is the year more people will marry, give birth, buy homes, and open businesses because of increased chances of success. Also, many rituals will be performed in order to attract luck. In addition, there are many superstitions which they will adhere to. These may pose difficulties for some people, especially people with OCD and related disorders, because of fears of misfortune if the superstitions are not heeded.
This is from http://gohongkong.about.com/od/hongkongfestivals/tp/CNYsuperstition.htm "Chinese New Year may be a time for friends, family and fun, but is also a time for foreboding as the festival is riddled with superstitions. The Chinese, including Hong Kongers, place much stock in the rites and rituals in Chinese New Year superstitions. Check out our top Chinese New Year superstition tips below.
1. Dirty Doings
Put your feet up and relax. Certainly the most enjoyable of the Chinese New Year superstitions, sweeping and cleaning is strictly forbidden. The Chinese believe cleaning means you'll sweep all of your good luck out the front door.
2. Time to Come Clean
Before you can enjoy number two, you need to give the house a full spring clean, before putting cleaning tools in the cupboard on New Year's Eve.
3. Read Between the Lines
Be sure to stock up on reading materials before Chinese New Year, as Hong Kong's bookshops will be padlocked tight. In Cantonese, book is a homonym for 'lose'.
4. Choppy Waters
Make sure you avoid rough seas in the new year by not buying shoes over the holiday period. In Cantonese, shoes are a homonym for 'rough'.
5. Balance the Books
If you're in debt, it's time to dip into your pockets and pay people off. The Chinese believe that if you start the new year in the red, you'll finish it the same way.
6. Ghostly Conversations
Caught round a campfire over the holiday period? No ghost stories. Tales of death, dying and ghosts is considered supremely inauspicious, especially during Chinese New Year.
7. Lady in Red
Chinese New Year is packed with colors, and while all the colors of the rainbow bring good luck, it's the color red that is considered the ultimate luck bringer.
8. Sweet Year
Hong Kongers have a sweet touch at the best of times, but Chinese New Year offers the perfect chance to raid the sweet shop, as eating candies is said to deliver a sweeter year.
9. Feel the Breeze
Welcome in the New Year with a blast of fresh air, opening your windows is said to let in good luck.
10. Get to the Point
Sharp objects are said to be harbingers of bad luck, as their sharp points cut out your good luck, pack them away.You should also avoid the hairdressers or you'll have your good luck chopped off."
Besides this, your own personal horoscope will determine whether or not you will have a good year. This year, 2012, is supposed to be good for "rabbits," not so good for "dogs," and neutral for "rams." also, the unlucky direction is "Yellow 5," so don't have any repairs done this year, until next February 9th, in the southeast part of your home or else you will bring bad fortune upon your household. I would be here all day if I tried to explain everything else, like how the 5 elements, water, fire, metal, air, and earth factor into this.
I am exhausted from just reading these things! In any event, I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy Chinese New Year!