The year of the dog is upon us. It is time to get ready to share and celebrate Chinese New Year with our many friends! You only have less than 2 weeks to prepare. Chinese New Year falls on Friday, February 16, 2018. Also known as Spring Festival, festivities usually begin the day before the New Year and continue to the Lantern Festival on Friday, March 2, 2018. Chinese New Year celebrations were born out of fear and myth. Legend spoke of the wild beast Nien (which also is the word for “year”) that appeared at the end of each year, attacking and killing villagers. Loud noises and bright lights were used to scare the beast away, and the Chinese New Year celebrations were born.

Today, Chinese families gather together for a reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve and clean their homes to sweep away bad fortune on New Year’s Day. Traditionally kids would be given red envelopes stuffed with “lucky money” and positive wishes on New Year’s Day. Some teens now have red envelope apps so their relatives can transfer cash digitally. Technology…

According to Asian astrology, your year of birth – and the animal this represents – determines a lot about your personality traits. 2018 will be the first year of the earth dog since 1958. Anyone born in the earth dog year will be communicative, serious and responsible in the workplace.

Strengths: valiant, loyal, responsible, clever, courageous, lively

Weaknesses: sensitive, conservative, stubborn, emotional

What are the lucky signs for the dog?

Lucky Numbers: 3, 4, and 9

Lucky Colors: green, red, purple

Lucky Flowers: rose, oncidium, cymbidium, orchids

Lucky Directions: east, southeast, south

Here are a few things you should avoid doing on New Year’s Day.

•Please do not wash laundry on the first and second day of the New Year

•Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year.

•The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and depletion of wealth.

•If you sweep with a broom on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.

•Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day. All debts must be paid by New Years Eve.

•Wearing damaged clothes can cause more bad luck throughout the year.

•The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents must do their best to keep children as happy as possible.

•Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means you will be ill for a whole year.

•White or black clothing are banned on the New Year. These two colors are associated with mourning.

•One must avoid giving gifts such as clocks, scissors, and pears as they all have a poor meaning in Chinese culture.

I am reminding you early this year about this wonderful holiday because last year I celebrated with you on Chinese New Year Day. Unlike Valentine’s Day where you can walk in almost any American retailer and find cards and decorations to celebrate, Chinese New Year is not quite as easy. In 2017, many of my friends across the USA lived in towns that did not have access to cards, red envelopes, lanterns, etc. This year, I want to make certain I remind you early so you can order online or visit your local specialty shop to prepare. Share the love, celebrate and learn about the customs of our friends, neighbors and coworkers.

David Brown
Mulberry Seed Design