You’ll definitely find favour in the eyes of the Jade Emperor
Festive traditions are fun, but sometimes can be a chore when it comes to carrying it out the correct way, right down to the nitty-gritty of using the accurate shade of colour, the who’s who that require an appearance, and even the requirement of its execution right at the auspicious moment.
But if ever find the strength from within, here’s how the 15-day procession of CNY festivities should pan out:
The first day of the Lunar New Year calls for house visits to the oldest and most senior members. The visits serve to strengthen family ties.
Meat is to be abstained from consuming on the first day so as to enhance longevity. Instead, a traditional Buddhist vegetarian dish called ‘Jai’ will be served. The meal is made up of 18 different ingredients as the number is believed to be rein in wealth and prosperity.
Alongside the vegetarian dish, guests will be offered sweet treats, such as sugared fruits, to sweeten one’s upcoming year. These treats are usually presented in a round or octagonal tray called the ‘Tray of Togetherness’, which comprises eight compartments – a number that symbolises luck.
The God of Wealth will take his leave for heaven on the second day of the Lunar New Year. To send the deity off, people will eat wonton that resembles an ingot. The day also sees to the return of married women, who will pay respects to their birth parents. Prayers t ancestors and the gods normally take place.
Day 3 – 4
This is the time allocated for grave-visitation for those who have an immediate relative deceased in the past year.
Regarded as the birthday of the God of Wealth, you are urged not to leave the house for too long, in case the deity should drop by your family’s house.
Day 6 – 7
The day is for visiting temples, relatives and friends.
Some conservative families will have another reunion dinner, before paying respect to the Jade Emperor at midnight.
Respects are paid to the Jade Emperor on the ninth day, which is considered the birthday of the almighty one.
Day 10 – 13
More house visitations.
Preparations are made for the Lantern Festival
Marking the first full moon after the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival comes blazing through with feasts taking place in setting bedecked with decorative lanterns and Mandarin oranges. A dessert traditionally served is tangyuan – sweet stuffing-filled glutinous rice balls that reflect the shape of the full moon. The sweet dumplings symbolise reunion.
The display of lighted lanterns is encouraged as the light is said to guide lost and evil spirits home, while fortifying relationships between people, families, nature and the celestial beings.