Did you cast out your sins, along with your pocket lint and kitchen breadcrumbs, last October for Rosh Hashanah? Perhaps you made resolutions, kissed, and tossed confetti on December 31st. Even if everything worked, even if you’re functioning nicely, feeling ready for any doldrums February might throw you, you do have a crack at another new year and another new you!

The Chinese Lunar New Year–the most joyful of all Chinese festivals and the beginning of this next Year of the Dog–starts in all its glory January 29th (that’s Sunday), and the celebration lasts for two weeks.

I really meant to tell you this earlier, because now you only have the 27th and 28th to ruthlessly clean your houses in time for the new year. Perhaps I was hung up and distracted by my own household’s clutter. But do what you can, since housecleaning is considered a very good way to clear out old energy and prepare for new things. Mentally, take some time to sweep away the grudges and heartaches, all of last year’s disappointments. If you do nothing else, just do that, and try to connect to the imperative of truly letting go, no matter what your faith, since the importance of not holding on to the past emerges in all the world’s wisdom traditions. Yes, you have suffered. Now, it is time to move on, help others, and change your adversity into passionate good news. Check out this Beliefnet story about six ways to get your energy flowing again.

Author and teacher Carolyn Myss says that holding onto past sadness and fretting about “what might have been” will actually make you sick or even kill you! (As I was telling my brother recently: “Let disappointment go, let it go, let it go!” I left him with a stack of meditation tapes, one of which has a good “letting go” meditation, but I’m still not sure he’ll listen to them.)

I wrote to Marina Lighthouse,a Tibetan Black Hat Feng Shui consultant and internet shop owner, and asked her to send me the Chinese New Year sequence of events. Here it is:

(1/29) Day 1
New Year’s Day: Pay respects to elders, set off firecrackers, burn incense, and worship deities; call on friends and relatives.

(1/29-2/2) Day 1-5
Beginning of New Spring: Worship the god of wealth (Editorial insertion from Chattering Mind: Hmmm, I am not familiar with this deity, perhaps we should get better acquainted. Many Chinese people believe that prosperity is nothing to be ashamed of and is, in fact, a way to liberate yourself so that you can better contribute to the good of the world); Married women visit natal homes, sweep house to send off poverty, keep an open house for visiting friends and relatives; temple astrologer predicts fortunes.

(2/4) Day 7
Birthday of Humanity: The first 10 days of the New Year are dedicated to animals, food, as well as all humanity;

First day: Fowl
Second day: Dogs
Third day: Pigs
Fourth day: Ducks
Fifth day: Oxen
Sixth day: Horses
Seventh day: Humanity
Eighth day: Rice
Ninth day: Fruits and vegetables
Tenth day: Wheat and barley

(2/12) Day 15
Lantern Festival Day: Parades in San Francisco and other major cities are set as close to this date as possible.

It’s a beautiful parade of activities, isn’t it?

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