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15 days of Celebration for the Year of the Earth Dog

February 08, 2018
This meal is all carved out of China Jade.

15 days of Celebration for the Year of the Earth Dog

While the Western world celebrates the new year on Jan. 1, the Chinese mark the start of the lunar new year with a 15-day celebration that this year began on Feb. 4. Everything in China shuts down for 2 weeks for the following:

The lengthy festivities involve honoring gods, ancestors and family. When done properly, each rite helps set the tone for an auspicious year. Here is how households mark the special occasion:

Day 1
The first day is spent welcoming heavenly and earthly deities. Individuals abstain from eating meat to  ensure a happy, long life.

Day 2
This day is recognized as the birthday of dogs, so we show our appreciation by showering them with kindness and edible treats.

Days 3 and 4
On these days, we visit our in-laws to pay our respects and show family support.

Day 5
This is the day we welcome the God of Wealth into our homes. At this time, we refrain from visiting friends and family in the belief that this will bring bad luck to all parties.

Days 6 to 10
These days are set aside for visiting friends and relatives, praying and blessing them with good fortune and good health.

Day 7
Harvest Day is marked by eating noodles to promote good health and longevity. We do not cut the noodles because cut or broken noodles signify poor health.

Day 8
Families unite for a dinner that lasts into midnight, when we offer a prayer or blessing for the new year.

Day 9
Offerings to the Jade Emperor are made on this day out of respect for the creator of the universe.

Days 10 to 12
We celebrate these days with friends over sumptuous meals, always making sure there is fish on the table, an indication of surplus and abundance for all. Dishes of shrimp ensure laughter throughout the year. Fat choy, a black algae that has the appearance of fine black hair, is also served because of its association with wealth. Also enjoyed are mustard greens, described as “long-year vegetables.” They are associated with longevity because even when overcooked, they never turn out bad. The proper way to eat them is from the top to the bottom, one by one, for good health and longevity.

The dish most closely associated with the new year is meatless jai, which contains 18 varieties of vegetables, each symbolic of an aspect of good fortune. Turnip cake is also said to bring good luck, and dumplings shaped to look like golden ingots are eaten at midnight on the eve of the new year for good fortune. Another dish that is eaten is gau, to ensure your recognition, fortune, wealth and happiness will continue to rise throughout the year.

Day 14
After days of feasting and celebration, we usually enjoy simple congee and choy sum before dawn to cleanse our bodies. We never eat all of the congee, leaving some in our bowls to indicate surplus in the new year.

Day 15
This is the day of the Lantern Festival, when we welcome friends and family to our homes, which we decorate with poetic red paper to bless all with happiness, fortune and wishes for continued good health.

It’s also important to dress the home with pretty blossoms, lucky platters of oranges and tangerines with color representative of gold and wealth, and “Trays of Togetherness” bearing eight varieties of Chinese sweets.

Chinese believe that every household should contain plants to symbolize rebirth and growth in the new year. Flowers are also symbolic of wealth, success and recognition in one’s career. Most popular is the narcissus. A narcissus plant that blooms on New Year’s Day foretells prosperity. We also like to have bamboo in our homes as a symbol of strength, perseverance and reliability.

We like to give gifts of gau, oranges, tangerines, plants and flowers with a red envelope called lai see when we visit friends and family during the two-week Chinese new year celebration. This year, we will be making 100 gaus to give away in celebration of the Chinese new year. This to ensure that our relationships are strong, important and an indication we wish good fortune, success and good health upon those close to us.

Sticky

What color will Nikolai’s hair be?

January 17, 2018

On fire: Why I’ll be a redhead in 2018

People often ask me why I color my hair in such bright hues at the start of every new year. It’s something I started 12 years ago, not for the sake of fashion and not to attract attention, but because of my heritage.

Everyone born in a certain year is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals. But Four Pillars astrology goes further, taking into account the amount of five elements—metal, water, wood, fire and earth—present in the universe at one’s time,date of birth and place.

I like to have my chart prepared before the start of a new year to be aware of how these elemental energies will affect me. This allows me to be proactive in trying to attract positive energy and outcomes, while avoiding potential difficulties.

In 2018, the Year of the Earth Dog, a majority of people will need earth, wood or water elements to balance their lives. They can increase this energy by wearing green, white or black, and filling their environment with nature or water elements such as plants, wood objects or a desktop fountain.

I have an overabundance of metal in my chart and because earth creates more metal, I need water and fire elements to create balance in my life. Water is already present in the boar, my birth sign. That means that what I need most is fire and the next time you see me, I will be sporting fire engine red hair!

I think coloring my hair is it easiest thing I can do to bring the element of fire into my life. This way, I don’t have to worry about wearing certain clothing or a specific piece of jewelry every day. I can simply wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, wash my face, and head out the door.

I love red and the fire element is beneficial to me because of its relationship to my jewelers craft. Fire melts metal and I’ll be able to mold and create many new designs going into the Year of the Boar in 2019. For me, fire is conducive to ideas, passion, joy and recognition.

It also has a strong, energizing quality that will be important for the interesting year ahead, which is destined to bring about important social, political, cultural and spiritual shifts.

With the strength of metal, I am looking forward to creating more of an awareness of this awakening, and with the fire energy surrounding me, I know this will be possible.

For you, there is always a specific jade element or precious stone that will be implemented for your needs in the earth dog, Just call, text or email me for details. Balance in 2018 is important for everyone!

The awakening and awareness begins in 2018 the earth dog.

Sticky

Clear the way for New Year abundance

January 04, 2018

The Chinese maintain long lists of things to do and not to do on specific days of the year.

Whether you believe in good luck, bad luck, helpful or harmful spirits, there is a rationale for the New Year tradition of “sweeping the dust.” The actions are based on the belief that one’s surroundings affect well-being. Cleaning encourages people to get rid of old baggage, old energy and resentments that hold us back. Doing this allows us to focus on setting new intentions and moving forward in a positive way, whether one follows the Western or lunar calendar.

I believe that starting with a clean slate, a clear mind and tidy work and living spaces allows my energy and creativity to soar. Whether you’re aware of it or not, a cluttered, unsafe environment represents a psychological burden. That is why people feel lighter, more focused and energized in a clear space.

It’s in this ideal state of balance and intention—which Deepak Chopra calls the starting point of every dream—that prosperity, health, happiness and many other good things can flow.

Here are things to do before Feb. 4, to have a prosperous & good health in the Lunar New Year.

3 must do’s before the 4th of February 2018

  • New wallet or new bag to bring new wealth, business, prosperity for the new year
  • New shoes so each step will stop gossip, backstabbing and bring in only positive intentions
  • Last, your element you need to carry with you this year to bring balance and good luck to you this year

YOUR HOME AND OFFICE

  • Make sure your living and work spaces are clean from top to bottom to welcome good fortune in the coming year. Open all doors and windows to bring in luck and energy.
  • Switch on all the lights. Bright lights are said to scare evil spirits.
  • Check all light bulbs and smoke alarms to make sure they all work.
  • Clean all blinds, curtains and ceiling fans. Clear out cobwebs. Wipe down everything.
  • Focus on the positive. Do not think or talk negatively because your actions set the tone for the rest of the year.
  • Buy a new pair of shoes or slippers to prevent people from gossiping about you. Maintaining a good reputation is important.

YOUR YARD OR OUTSIDE SURROUNDINGS

  • Wash down the patio.
  • Make sure all the grass is cut and trees are trimmed. Remove all weeds, garbage, broken furniture and broken planters.
  • Clean the outside of your windows and touch up chipped paint.
  • Wash out all your recycling and trash bins.
  • If you have a swimming pool or sauna, make sure they are clean.
  • Check all your security and outside lights.
  • Water your plants.
  • Make sure your tool closet or shed is tidy.
  • Clean the barbecue grill and doormats.

BATH AND KITCHEN

  • Mop the floors.
  • Clean your refrigerator and freezer; throw out old food.
  • Clean your drains, sink and tub. Replace your water filters.
  • Place a fresh fruit bowl in the center of your kitchen, particularly oranges that represent wealth.
  • Avoid using knives and scissors on New Year’s Day. Do not cut your hair or nails on Chinese New Year; do this earlier. Otherwise, it is believed you will bring pain to your relationships.

BEDROOM

  • Organize your drawers. Throw away clutter and get rid of clothes you no longer wear.
  • Donate items to those in need. Wash your clothes prior to the new year.
  • Rotate your mattress, wash your sheets and clean your bed frame.

YOUR CAR

  • Check your tire pressure, oil and other fluid levels.
  • Wash your car, and clean the interior. Replace air freshener.
  • Fill your gas tank.

By doing as much of this as you can, you will be opening your life to more prosperity and spiritual joy.

Sticky