Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Preparing For the Year of The Sheep

The Chinese New Year, one of the grandest and most important holidays of the year, is arriving February 19th, so before then there are some key things you can do to prepare! The Chinese New Year, sometimes referred to as the Chinese Spring Festival, has been celebrated for more than 4,000 years, originating during the Shang Dynasty in the 17th to 11th century BC. As you probably suspected, a holiday dating back that far in history comes with many traditions. A number of the traditions, of course, revolve around the time period when the holiday has officially begun, but some of them involve the days or even weeks beforehand. After all, a holiday this important requires some preparation! 

A huge part of the preparation and celebration of the New Year is to ensure that the upcoming year is a year filled with luck and happiness, so how exactly does one prepare to make their year the best one possible? Certain traditions repeat each New Year, but others depend on the Zodiac sign that will be represented during the upcoming year. 2015 welcomes the Year of the Sheep, more specifically the Year of the Wooden Sheep, so several of the preparations for this holiday will be unique from ones in the past. 

The key to winning the attention and empathy of the Wooden Sheep for a year of good luck and happiness is to understand what the Year of the Wooden Sheep means. As Eileen Wacker points out in her article, “Get Ready! The Sheep Are Coming”, the sheep are the artists of the Zodiac. They are kind, sweet, and generous. As a sensitive creature, the sheep is happy when surrounded by kindness and peace. If you know someone who is a sheep (anyone turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, or 72 this year), tell them you love them and you will be rewarded with loyalty and passion. 

In addition to the Five Elements, (Earth, wind, fire, water, and wood), colors are also often represented as part of the Zodiac signs. Since the sheep is a herbivore, green is the color that will be represented this year. This means that this year, all things green are good (yes, even vegetables for our picky eaters!). In the coming weeks of the New Year, drink green tea and embrace the peace and serenity that the sheep loves so much. 

The next way to prepare for the Year of the Sheep is a crucial one. Despite the association of sheep with farms, the sheep does not like anything to be dirty, but is rather quite a tidy animal. To please the sheep and welcome a year of good luck, be sure to de-clutter your home and office. Make room for the good luck to come by dusting and sweeping your entire home. In addition, clean out your closets and make sure the entrance way to your home is well lit. 

The next way to prepare for the New Year is a tricky one if you live in a cold part of the world, but still just as important. For a period of time each day all the way till February 19th, open your windows. This allows the “stale air of the past” to exit your home and invites the fresh air of new opportunities to flow inside. 

Use the time before the holiday to do some soul searching. Set some goals and figure out what you would like to accomplish this year. Remembering that the sheep loves peace, serenity, and kindness, avoid being moody and pessimistic this year. Also knowing that the sheep also loves generosity, perhaps donate things you don’t use anymore or don’t need while you are decluttering your home. Being as kind and positive as possible in the weeks leading up to the holiday will increase your chances of good fortune during this upcoming year. 

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