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Preparations for the start of the year of metal rat

According to Chinese custom and Feng Shui practice, being in a large gathering at the stroke of midnight (signaling the beginning of a new year) brings good and strong chi (life force) and it signifies good luck to those present.

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IT is best to light a candle or incense at the altar before the start of the Chinese New Year. AFP

Every New Year brings new hopes and dreams waiting to come true. We have to let go of our sad experiences. No matter how hard life may be, we cannot change the past but we can try our very best to turn misfortune into good fortune. Make the most of what is present in preparation for the future to get more than what we expect. Understanding our luck enables us to change ourselves and obtain good fortune. Applying the principle of Feng Shui, which is an art of placement that allows us to live in harmony, brings good health and good relationship with people. It is neither a cult nor a religion. Feng Shui, when applied properly, helps each and every one of us to prepare for the year ahead, reap great rewards and take away misfortune.

Let us now welcome the Year of Metal Rat with expectations of luck, good health and prosperity. Kung Hei Fat Choi! (Here’s wishing you become rich) Choy Wan Hang Tong (wealth comes from everywhere.)

Chinese New Year preparation for
the Year of Metal Rat
The Traditional Chinese New Year will begin on 25 January at 12:07 a.m. and will last for 15 days. But preparation begins a month before which starts with spring cleaning.

It is a time of renewal. Sweeping out the old is considered lucky. Start the New Year by considering that everything in life is fresh. Clean and decorate your home with red color. Buy new red colored clothes and slippers to be worn on 25 January. Everyone should get a haircut on the following dates: 17, 20 and 21 January. It means that all the bad things that happened during the Year of the Pig will not be carried over. Take a Pomelo (Suha) bath before 11 p.m. on 24 January. Sprinkle glitters at your doorstep to attract good fortune, throw some candies outside the street to offer to the spirit so it won’t bother you for the year. Hang kiat-kiat (small orange) on your door for a prosperous new year.
Prepare on your dining table the following and place it in the center.

1 — Pineapple — swerte
3 — Pear — dumarating
1 — Pomelo (Suha) — umaapaw

Place one cup of uncooked rice (bigas), one cup of water and one cup of rock salt.

The Chinese New Year should be welcomed with a large gathering. According to Chinese custom and Feng Shui practice, “being in a large gathering at the stroke of midnight (signaling the beginning of a new year) bring good and strong chi (life force) and it signifies good luck to those present.” You may visit a temple, church and/or attend a windmill parade. Those who will attend our annual windmill parade please wear red clothes.

15 days of celebration
Day 1 (25 January 2020, Saturday) New Year’s Day
•Great everyone by saying Kung Hei Fat Choi (here’s wishing you to become rich). It is believed that appearance and attitudes during New Year are significant as to what fortunes would be for the entire year.

• Do not wash your hair as good fortune will be depleted.

Wearing of new panty tat (underwear), accessories or clothing that is red in color is considered most auspicious.

• Refrain from losing one’s temper.

• Flowers and fruits are offered at the altar.

• Light incense or candle pray time 7 a.m. — 9 a.m (Dragon Time).

• Attend gathering in the evening. Have a dinner party with family and friends.

• Lai-see envelope or Ang-Pao, good luck money wrapped in red envelope is given as a symbol of blessing.

• Don’t sweep the floor, it is prohibited as it will sweep away the good fortune accumulated. No brooming.

• Do not use knives or scissors as this may cut off fortune.

• Good day for activities such as getting married, ground breaking, meeting friends, moving house and contract signing.
• Avoid renovations and long travel.

Day 2 (26 January 2020, Sunday)
• Traditionally called “Beginning of the Year” or “Kai Nian.” This is the time when married daughters visit their birth parents, relatives and friends.

• This is also seen as the “common birthday of dogs” as it is believed to be the day the Goddess Nuwa created them. As such, treats are given to your pet dog.

• Pray to your ancestor as well to God.

• Good day to visit your in-laws, extended family and friends.

No brooming of floors.

Day 3 (27 January 2020, Monday)
• This is the time to have a family bonding. It is also referred to as “Day of the Sheep.” Sheep is considered a symbol of good fortune in Chinese culture.

• Visit friends, in laws and relatives.

•A perfect day for activities like starting a new business, getting married, groundbreaking, contract signing, traveling, renovations and moving home.

DRAGON dance represents power and strength. AFP

•No brooming of floor.

Day 4 (28 January 2020, Tuesday) or POO WOO
• This day is traditionally known as the “Day of the Horse.”

• People are encouraged to clean their toilets as the God of Toilet (Ce Shen) is believed to return on this day to inspect your sanitation.

• You can start brooming and cleaning your home.

• Perfect day for activities like starting a new business, ground breaking, meeting friends, moving house, contract signing, renovations and traveling.

• Avoid getting married.

Day 5 (29 January 2020, Wednesday) is called PO WOO
• An excellent start to open up a business and to go back to work.

• This is the day to welcome the God of Wealth and Prosperity (Cai-Sen).

• People usually get up early to welcome the God of Fortune in their homes by offering incense, candles and wishes.

• Everyone writes their wishes to the God of Wealth in a wishing-granting paper (compose of three pages). First page is to wish for good health, second page is for good harmony and last page is for good fortune.  Then burn it in front of the altar.

• This is the best time to throw kiat-kiat or oranges into your home or office.

• Good time to go to the bank, open an account to deposit cash or check to your name or business. Remember to wear red color.

Day 6 (30 January 2020, Thursday)
• Love and marriage day. You can pray for a happy married life. And for the single who wants to have a partner, go to church, pray and make a wish.

• Light incense or candle. Offer pink flowers.

• Continue to visit friends and relatives.

Day 7 (31 January 2020, Friday)
• Everybody’s Birthday.

• Everyone is considered one year older as of this date.

• It is a day of feasting and eating.

• It is a good day to invite friends, business partners and clients to have a sumptuous lunch or dinner.

• This will ensure abundance of food to eat.

Noodles are eaten to promote longevity and fish for success.

Day 8 (1 February 2020, Saturday)
• Emperor’s birthday.

• Traditionally in Chinese culture, this is celebrated as the “Birthday of Millet,” which is considered as a staple food during the ancient times. Folklore states that if this day is bright and clear, the harvest will be good through the whole year. But if it is cloudy or rainy, there will be poor harvest for the entire year.

OFFER a prayer to the Chinese Gods for good luck.

• Pray to God of Heaven or God the Father.

• This is an auspicious day for businessmen and owners to host a party. They can invite friends and clients for a dinner.

• Activities for the day are starting a new business, groundbreaking, renovation, meeting friends and contract signing.

• Avoid getting married, move house and traveling.

Day 9 (2 February 2020, Sunday)
• Jade Emperor’s birthday.

• The Jade Emperor, is the one in charge for the entire year.

• Make an offering to the Jade Emperor by lighting incense or candle; offer some flowers and seven kinds of fruits.

• Belief says that if you wake up in the morning of the ninth day and see a clear sky, it means that a year of big profit is waiting for you. If you see a cloudy sky and rain, it says that you will suffer financial loss.

Day 10 (3 February 2020, Monday)
• The tenth day is considered as the birthday of the “God of Stone.” As such, it is forbidden to move any objects made out of stone in order to avoid any unpleasant incident.

• Family bonding. Spend more time with them.

• Visit friends or relatives.

Day 11 (4 February 2020, Tuesday)
• According to tradition, this day is when fathers-in-law entertain their sons-in-law.

• It is also the day when the Dragon Dance Festival is celebrated.

Day 12 (5 February 2020, Wednesday) Vegetarian Day
• Feasting where rich, fatty and greasy foods are partaken.

• Chinese people normally begin observing lighter diets to eliminate heat and clear their bowels.

• Simple rice congee (lugaw) can be eaten to cleanse our body system.

• The 12th day needs the body to have a rest from all the drinking and feasting.

Day 13 (6 February 2020, Thursday)
• This day, dedicated to General Guan Yu, is when most businesses and organizations pay tribute to the deity.

Day 14 (7 February 2020, Friday) Eve of the Lantern Festival
Preparation for the celebration of the Lantern festival.

Decorate your home with red color.

Day15 (8 February 2020, Saturday) Lantern Festival
• Each family may put a Chinese lantern or anything of red color in front of the door or window to catch the attention of the Prosperity God.

• Light a candle in front of your home from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

• For those who are single, it is the best time to pray for a partner.

• Have a get together dinner at home. Invite friends and relatives.

• Make a wish using the fulfilling balloon instead of the customary lantern.

“Luck is within us, but we have to grab opportunities that come our way to do better and improve our lives. This is a good time for us to build our dreams and make them happen. Believe in ourselves and the magic will follow. There is magic in believing.”

Yours Truly,
Empress Li

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

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