I was telling a friend yesterday that I wanted to look over my New Year’s Resolutions again to see how I’m doing with them 1/12 of the way through the year. And today I opened an email from a lovely friend (and one of the country’s finest feng shui masters, in my opinion, Liz Brown from Kansas City. She wrote to me at an old email address I don’t look at often so I didn’t get this at the start of Chinese New Year, but those lovely Chinese folk are kind enough to make New Year’s a 15-day celebration. We can still get in on some of it!

To follow is Liz’s wisdom on Year of the Ox, along with day-to-day things we can do (on the dozen or so days that are left) to make this a better year than a lot of people believe is possible.


YEAR OF THE OX – from Liz Brown (edited by Victoria Moran since we’re starting late…)

May the best qualities of the OX be yours this year:

Patient, stable, fearless, tenacious, hard-working and friendly

 (just like Barack, who was born in an Ox year!)

BEFORE THE CELEBRATION BEGINS (By Sunday, January 25, 2009) *Okay, we missed the timing, but come on: this has got to be great stuff to do any time — VM

• Make sure you have swept and cleaned every corner of your entire house. Then put away all your cleaning supplies!

• Settle up all your old debts prior to the New Year. This is a time of great fear for debtors!

• Some even give their home a new coat of paint on New Year’s Eve to help usher in new energy.

• Don’t cut your hair at all during the entire 15-day Chinese New Year, or you’ll suffer a financial setback. *If you already cut your hair, you totally get a pass on this! The difference between having fun with this kind of information and just being superstitious is how much ease you can bring to the table. — VM

• NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER is one of the most important family occasions of the year! A tremendous amount of food is prepared, symbolizing abundance and wealth for the household! Spirits of ancestors and the living celebrate New Year’s Eve together at the family banquet dinner table. Keep empty seats at the table for those in the family who can’t attend. *Okay, we may have missed dinner on January 25th, but getting people together for festivity is never a bad thing. — VM

• Tangerine and oranges speak to the sweetness the New Year will bring, and symbolize prosperity.

• Flowers are symbols of wealth and high positions in your career, so they are always present during the 15 days. *Do this one today as a way to tell the universe that you don’t feel like participating in the recession. Pick up flowers cheaply at the supermarket or go to a florist and tell the universe you’re really choosing not to take part in the downturn. – VM 

• Bamboo shoots speak to how easily and effortlessly the New Year will go.

• Mixed vegetables speak to auspiciousness.

• Mushrooms speak to a business that grows and expands rapidly.

• Pot stickers are for prosperity, as the shape is similar to Chinese coins. (In some regions of China, the chef of the house secretly places a coin inside the center of one of the pot stickers. The person who gets that one will have an especially prosperous year!)

• No tofu during Chinese New Year! White is unlucky and signifies death and misfortune in Chinese culture.

• Greens symbolize good and fresh beginnings for the New Year.

DAY 5 (Friday, January 30, 2009)

• One of the most important of the 15 days: the day to welcome the God of Wealth!

 DAY 6 (Saturday, January 31, 2009)

 Visit friends and family freely and go to the temples to pray for good health and good fortune.

 DAY 7 (Sunday, February 1, 2009)

• The day for farmers to display their produce.

• Make a drink from 7 types of veggies today to celebrate the occasion.

• This is the birthday of all human beings. Everyone is considered one year older on this date, and not so much on his or her specific birthday.

• Eat uncut noodles for longevity. Eat raw fish for success. *Vegetarians and vegans like me: seaweed works. — VM

 DAY 8 (Monday, February 2, 2009)

• The day for a family reunion dinner. At midnight pray to the God of Heaven.

 DAYS 10, 11, 12 (Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, February 4-6, 2009)

• Invite friends and family to dinner, especially the in-laws on Day 11.

DAY 13 (Saturday, February 7, 2009)

• Cleanse your system after all the rich food you’ve been eating with simple rice and mustard greens.

 DAY 14 (Sunday, February 8, 2009)

• Prepare for the Lantern Festival on the 15th night.

 DAY 15 (Monday, February 9, 2009)

• Celebrate the Lantern Festival, carrying lanterns through the streets. *A candle through the house maybe? — VM

• Lanterns serve as signposts to the festivities for guests, and light the way for spirits back to the beyond         

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