CHINESE YEAR OF THE TIGER

 

Gong xi fa cai

 

 

 

THE YEAR OF THE TIGER

The Chinese New Year 4708 begins on February 14th 2010 and is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. Festivities traditionally start on the first day of the lunar month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people from the industrial centres, travel home for the festivities. Once again the worst Mongolian blizzards in 90 years coincide with this national holiday. Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.

 

The Tiger is one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet, and is feared and revered in equal measure.  It features in many Asian cultures as a manifestation of courage, power, passion and royalty.  In Feng Shui, it is one of the four celestial animals where it takes its place as the White Tiger.  The other three celestial animals are the Green Dragon, Red Phoenix and Black Tortoise.  The Tiger symbolizes the female Yin energy as opposed to the Yang male energy of the dragon.  Ancient Chinese believe that the markings on the forehead of tigers resemble the Chinese character for "Wang", or King.  In Imperial China, where the dragon is the insignia of the emperors, the tiger is the military emblem of the highest supreme commanders of the army symbolizing fearlessness and victory.  The Tiger also represents earth, while the dragon represents Heaven.  The powerful, stealth and prowess of the Tiger inspire the martial art movements of many Kung-Fu masters.

 

People born in the Year of the Tiger are courageous, active, and self-assured. Optimistic, passionate and independent. Rebellious, dynamic and unpredictable. Quick tempered but considerate. Affectionate but careless.  The Tiger is a natural born leader and symbolizes power, passion and daring.Those born in Tiger years [ 2010:1998:1986:1974:1962:1950] tend to be Entrepreneurs, Military officer, Politician, Musician, Writer, Poet, Designer, Theatre director, Stockbroker, Athlete, Film star, Trade union leader, Company director, Explorer, Teacher.

FAMOUS TIGER PEOPLE:  Agatha Christie, Ludwig van Beethoven, Diana Rigg, Marilyn Monroe, Mary Queen of Scots, Norma Shearer, Queen Elizabeth II, Tom Cruise. Emily Dickinson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, William Hurt, Dylan Thomas, Karl Marx, Marco Polo, Beatrix Potter and Kenny Rogers.

 At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten away the evil spirits.

Prior to the weekend Chinese families will be giving their home a thorough cleaning.  It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-frames a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets.

 

The first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. The second day is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Prayers are also offered to one’s  ancestors. Dogs and feed well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs. The seventh day, the common man’s birthday, is when everyone grows one year older. The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor. On the fifteenth day of the new year rice dumplings [ 汤圆 ] a sweet rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon. This day marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities whose highlight is the spontaneous countrywide firework display.

 

Tigers, who thrive on chance and unpredictability, are best suited to navigating the many upheavals predicted in the year ahead. Those compatible with the Tiger — the Dragon and the Horse in particular — may also find 2010’s erratic circumstances inspiring them to ever bolder action, and ultimate success.

 

 

 In Lujian a door is decorated with chinese proverbs

 

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