Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year falls on February 16th this year. This is the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. The year 2018 is represented by the Yang Yellow Earth Dog. Sounds like a playful golden retriever to me.
Spring Festival originated during the Shang Dynasty (about 17th – 11th century BC) and celebrates family reunion and the hopes for a rich spring. Spring Festival is probably the most important traditional festival and celebration for families in China. In fact, it is even a public holiday and many people have the week off from work. Families join together from near and far.
Spring Festival Traditions
To prepare for the holiday, homes are thoroughly cleaned to rid them of bad luck, which might have collected during the old year. Scrolls printed with lucky messages are posted on gates to ones home and firecrackers are set off to frighten evil spirits away. These traditions are meant to bring good luck and long life to the family.
It is a Spring festival tradition to include the exchange of gifts and the famous dragon dances. Red, which is considered an auspicious color is the main color of the festival and there are red lanterns decorating the streets everywhere. Businesses combine red with images of prosperity to show their hope for the new year. And because 2018 is the year of dog, red decorations will be joined by dog images and statues.
According to Lillian Bridges who is a noted Feng Shui expert and forecaster, “this will be a much calmer year and may sometimes even seem boring. But there is a Chinese saying that “Boredom is good luck, because you have choices! There will be a palpable feeling of relief from the tensions of the previous years, especially as we get deeper into the year. Life should get easier and more relaxed.” Thank goodness!
She goes on to say “The Dog is considered a lucky animal to the Chinese and when one comes to your house, it brings good luck to the occupants. Therefore, anyone who loves and cares for dogs this year will get a little extra luck for honoring them.” So love on your dog and your neighbors dog.
If you want to read more about Lillian’s predictions for this year, you can read the full forecast here. I always think they are fun to read and then re-read the next year to see what came true.
Friendships and community are also very important in the Dog Year. People will be drawn to gatherings and reunions of old friends with a shared past and with newly discovered, like-minded others. With that in mind, I am hosting an Open House at my new clinic to celebrate Chinese New Year.
Happy New Year!