Most cultures have a significant festival which marks a new start; be that a new start to the year, a new season, a new moon. And all of them have a reflective aspect to them, a salute and shedding of the old and a striking out with purpose and good intent into the new.
Our ‘New Year’ celebrations happen at different times of the year for different cultures. Because not all years are the same, which western civilisation in all its egocentricity does not always acknowledge.
The Lunar New Year festival, is the most important Vietnamese and Chinese holiday.
It is traditionally the celebration of the beginning of spring as well as the New Year and usually falls between the months of January and February.
In Melbourne, there are several Chinese New Year festivals over the January/February period and often various Asian cultures are combined in the celebrations.
Last weekend Tết, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year Festival, was celebrated on Victoria Street in Richmond/Abbotsford. ie. just down the road from me.
Victoria Street was filled with food stalls, massage tents, singing, and people trying to make as much noise as possible using firecrackers, drums, bells, gongs, and anything which will ward off evil spirits. I’m not sure everyone knew that was the intent, but the crowds of people, whether they were there for the sugar cane juice, the fried calamari or the coconut cakes were operating collectively to herald the new season.
There was also the traditional parade with dancers wearing different masks, and some hidden under the guise of what is known as the Mua Lan or Lion Dancing. The Lan is an animal between a lion and a dragon, and is the symbol of strength in the Vietnamese culture that is used to scare away evil spirits
In the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the Horse, or more precisely, the wooden horse.
I have borrowed Toronto based Feng Shui master, Paul Ng’s predictions for the Year of the Horse. You can see these below the photos if you are interested.
I am a pig. Sigh.
Horse: Born in 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918
The year of the horse means there is leadership associated with this sign this year, so your authority may increase, according to Ng. However, the impulsive behaviour of the horse can lead to recklessness, so stay away from gambling and speculations. Work: Those in positions of authority will do well, but chancy businesses, like the stock market, are a bad idea.Wealth: Don’t expect to make a lot money, and value the income you have.Relationships: There won’t be a lot of excitement in your love life, and if you are engaged, you might want to delay your marriage until next year.Health: Watch your health this year — you’ll get tired and can catch bugs easily. Make exercise and rest a priority.
Sheep or Goat: Born in 2003, 1991, 1979 ,1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919
This is a “connecting” year for you. Take advantage of your good relationships with other people, particularly for male sheep.Work: Those who work in cars, analysis, public relations, entertainment, surgery, butchery and police work should expect to do well this year.Wealth: Expect stability, with a slight increase in money this year. Simplify your investment portfolio.Relationships: You’ll be quite beloved this year, so watch out for love triangles. If you’re married, make sure to demonstrate love toward your spouse.Health: You are healthier this year than last, but be careful of small accidents. Drive carefully and take your time when working.
Monkey: Born in 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920
It’s important for the monkey to spread themselves around in order to gain success this year, either travelling or moving. Work: Industries that are good for the monkey to work in include sales and marketing, law, education, travel and the financial world — things based around movement.Wealth: Money is looking good for monkeys, with the potential for promotions and investments reaping rewards.Relationships: If you’re single, this won’t be a great year for you, but those who are married can feel confident in the endurance of their union.Health: Your overall health is good. Be careful of accidents such as from driving.
Rooster: Born in 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921
This is gearing up to be a big year for roosters, according to Ng. There are many opportunities for your work or business, but your personal relationships might be volatile. Rely on your friends for help.Work: You do better outside an office than inside, in jobs like police work, the law and politics.Wealth: Be careful with your money this year — don’t gamble.Relationships: There’s a lot of love headed your way, but watch out for fights in your relationships. Take a step before continuing to argue, or they could end.Health: Small accidents could be an issue for you, and pay attention to your heart and lungs.
Dog: Born in 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922
This should be a lucky year for dogs, notes Ng. Everything from work and investments to relationships are on the upswing.Work: Work within your natural creativity in the arts, music, architecture or writing. Even the stage is great for you.Wealth: Use instincts, rather than logic, when making investments — it will help keep your money stable.Relationships: Consider proposing if you haven’t already, and if you are married, demonstrate more love toward your spouse. Be humble when interacting with others.Health: Enjoy your good health, but watch out for overeating.
Boar or Pig: Born in 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923
Get ready for a great year — you’ll make friends, have breakthroughs in business and be surrounded by help. However, this all will need some effort at the beginning.Work: Great industries for you include metaphysics, religion, public relations, human resources, media and politics.Wealth: Money will be stable for you this year, but don’t gamble or invest in speculative markets.Relationships: Nothing exciting, but nothing bad here either, as your relationships stay flat but stable.Health: You will feel much better than last year, and even if you get sick, you’ll recover quickly.
Rat: Born in 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924
The rat is in opposition this year, so this could mean losing some money this year. However, the rat sign is generally lucky, which can help keep you out of trouble.Work: Show business is great for you, including things like pageants and the arts. Be sure to stay away from gambling.Wealth: Ng holds to the old saying, “If you are not greedy, you will not lose money.”Relationships: Try to be quiet and patient this year, as otherwise, many of your relationships will consist of arguing.Health: Areas of the body to watch for include the lungs, kidney and waist. Get lots of exercise and rest.
Ox: Born in 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925
The ox is in conflict with the horse, which could mean arguments with other people this year, says Ng. However, the ox is a sign of authority, potentially signifying promotions.Work: Good environments include politics, the army or police work, where a promotion might be waiting for you. But watch out for enemies.Wealth: Don’t expect a lot of money, but your income is proportional to your authority level.Relationships: There isn’t a lot of romance expected for you this year. Be patient with the people in your life.Health: Your health is fine, just watch out for small accidents.
Tiger: Born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926
This should be a good year for tigers, according to Ng. It could bring luck, joy, romance, spirituality and learning opportunities.Work: You do well in business that have to do with blood, such as surgery and the army, as well as teaching and philosophy. If you are self-employed, expand your business.Wealth: This should be a year of stability for your money.Relationships: Romance is in the stars. If the opportunity is there, consider marriage. If you’re married, watch out for temptations from extramarital affairs.Health: Watch out for sharp objects, and be careful of accidents and bleeding.
Rabbit: Born 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927
This will be a year of romance and controversy, with lots of happiness everywhere for rabbits. Just be careful about your non-romantic relationships with others. Work: Entertainment, speaking and sales roles all suit you — mental work is better for you than physical.Wealth: This year, the more you work, the more you make.Relationships: Romantic entanglements await, but watch out for love triangles.Health: There’s a mild concern about sharp objects.
Dragon: Born in 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928
This should be a good year for dragons, as horses and dragons together have great energy. Health and wealth abound.Work: Working with both blood (surgery, butchery, soldiers) as well as spirituality (philosopher, priest) are in your favour.Wealth: You would do well in travel or trading businesses. Invest based on your intuition.Relationships: It does not look like a particularly romantic year for dragons.Health: You have a general tendency to get into accidents, but other than that, you’ll be very health.
Snake: Born in 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929
Last year was a year of conflict for the snake, says Ng, so this year is a money year. Work: Keeping in line with your money year, businesses that are good for you include finance and the stock market. Entertainment can also work for you.Wealth: Bring in the dollars! Both your regular and speculative incomes are looking good.Relationships: Think about marriage, if you haven’t already. And be sure to express love toward your spouse if you’re already hitched.Health: Keep your immune system boosted, as you’ll be prone to colds and the flu. Exercise and rest plenty.