Happy Lunar New Year, Parliament Monsters!
Though the Gregorian calendar is most commonly used worldwide, the millennia-old Lunar Calendar is still observed for agricultural and astrological purposes in parts of the East. The Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival) has been celebrated since the calendar's creation, which can be roughly traced back to the Han Dynasty around 200 B.C.! These celebrations last for days; this year, it starts on February 5th, and ends on February 19th.
Basically, it's a whole two week-long witchy moon party, since anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate!
When we think of Chinese New Year festivals in the cities, many vividly enchanting things come to mind... Money-hungry lions, serpentine dragons chasing after crystal orbs, the dancing glow of fireworks and lanterns, and shop entrances adorned with bright scarlet envelopes gilded in gold and silver paint. These staples paint an accurate picture of the values of Eastern culture, rejoicing in the power of color and elemental magic to encourage luck and financial growth in the coming year.
Here are a few simple ways in which we can tap into the customs of the ancient, and celebrate the lunar new year, too!
Welcome fortune into your home space.
If you are unfamiliar with the philosophy of feng shui, moving furniture won't seem too burdensome of a chore this Spring Cleaning. Use this season to put forth into motion some of the home rearranging you've been itching to do. Taoist philosophers once believed that the chi energy that accumulates throughout the year can grow stale, or even negative. Rejuvenate this energy flow by changing it up; scoot your couch to the other side of the living room, switch your television corner, or hang it up stash the entertainment center. Or, head to your nearest TJ Maxx or Homegoods and find some new decor! Create a harmonious balance within the four walls you call sanctuary by starting off with a fresh layout.
Feng Shui Tips:
- Place a wooden bowl of your favorite crystals in the center of your coffee table. Feel free to throw your pocket change in there--spirits of good fortune tend to love metal, and anything that symbolizes riches!
- Add a pieces of round decor and furniture to offset the often sharp-edged angles of the living room.
- I know I struggle with this one: Dust regularly to keep your chi energy free-flowing and gentle.
Be one with nature.
As any witch knows, greenery is key. Depending on what you want and what you have access to, purchase a pot or two of your favorite flower or plant, and place them in the windows or on shelves! Highly-prized flowers that are easier to access everywhere include the Orchid (for fertility and womanhood), Marigold or Chrysanthemum (for longevity and health), and the azalea, peony, or waterlily for both inner and outer beauty. Around this time of year, if you can get to any type of Asian market, you'll almost certainly find a lucky bamboo plant! It'll be a small, green, baby bamboo stalk tied with a gold or red ribbon, and they usually cost no more than $10 at the most. When taken care of properly, they can live for months and months in the same pot--bringing you success, luck, and health for years to come!
Just as important, this also goes for the fruits we incorporate into our diet. Anything with citrus is believed to draw in happiness and abundance. In our fruit bowl, we've since swapped out our bananas and kiwis for mandarin oranges, limes, and lemons!
Be a giver--Karma is always watching.
This might seem pretty more vague compared to other New Year traditions, but there are plenty of different ways to go about giving. In China and Southeast Asia, tiny red envelopes called Hong Bao are distributed to family and friends; each is marked with a gold-paint blessing, and can contain anything from $1 to however much you want to give! One reason behind this, was to encourage the karmic financial fortune that can result from generosity. These days, this tradition doesn't have to be about money at all. Give loved ones--and even those you hold a strained relationship with--your time and attention. Take a friend out to lunch, or call them up if your busy schedule has caused you to put it off.
In all, the Lunar or Chinese New Year is surrounded by countless legends and beliefs that stem from the relentless hope we all hold in new beginnings. Burn a red candle during your rituals for explosive passion in your life; burn an orange or yellow one to promptly chase out anxieties and depressive emotions. Use this month to sit down and put your finances in order; redo your budget, and treat yourself! Indulge in any citrus fruits of your choice; incorporate them into morning smoothies or eat them straight to boost your metabolism and abundance in all things. Go wild in buying the plants and herbs you've been eyeing out, and decorate every corner with them to welcome the prosperity of nature into your home. Light up your favorite incense--or fireworks, so long as it's legal where you are. Feel free to rock your red and gold this Spring, and be fierce as the dragon in all that you are part of. Like him, forever weaving in and out of clouds and rivers while chasing his beloved pearl of wisdom, we can draw our most valuable lessons from not the destination or resolution, but rather, the journey.
What are your New Year plans for "cleaning house" and starting anew? Feel free to share them with us!
As our coven cousins of the Far East say, Blessed Be and Gong Xi Fa Cai!
The Attic Witch