Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Year of the Rat...

Happy Chinese New Year!

This year, 2008, is the Year of the Rat. Characteristics of a person born in the Year of the Rat include devotion to family, hardworking, imaginative, loyal and not always sure of themselves. (Personally, I think a little big of self-doubt can be quite a good thing).

Indeed, if you were born in any of these years - 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 - then you, my Dear, are a Rat...and this is your year!

"Chinese New Year is a time when families get together to celebrate. It is also a special time to remember members of the family who have died. In the days coming up to New Year every family buys presents, decorations, food, new clothes and people have their hair cut. Houses are cleaned from top to bottom. The aim is to sweep out any bad luck from the old year and clear the way for good luck.

Celebrations for Chinese New Year usually last about 15 days and encompass many colourful celebrations however, it is bad luck to clean on New Years Day itself. Doors and windows are often newly painted in red. On New Years Eve decorations made from red and gold paper are hung down the doors to keep in good luck. These are marked with messages of good fortune such as happiness, prosperity and long life. These mostly have four Chinese characters. These are called Hui Chun."

The above was quoted from: ChineseNewYear/Customs.aspx

"New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household and the family ancestors.

The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the rituals, united the living members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the fortune and glory of the family.

The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year's Eve with a dinner arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The communal feast called "surrounding the stove" or weilu. It symbolizes family unity and honors the past and present generations."

The above was quoted from:

One of the reasons that I seem to be guided to write about some of the celebrated traditions that we as Humanity shares is seeing just how alike we are. Regardless of race, colour and creed, we all have celebrations of new years, celebrations of light and of course, celebrations of birthdays - our own personal new years.

I find these common threads in Humanity's cultures to be very comforting during these tumultuous times that we share on this beautiful Planet. She sustains us in such love that often I wonder how it's even possible after all that Humanity has experienced here, that She still allows us to stay.

In wishing you a very Happy Year of the Rat, I leave you with a link for you to check your own Chinese Animal and your horoscope for this Chinese New Year.