LUNAR New Year falls on Tuesday, February 5, as we bid farewell to the year of the Earth Dog and usher in 2019 as the year of the Earth Pig (boar), according to the Chinese zodiac.
Following the lunar calendar, the celebration lasts for two weeks until February 19 with each day bearing its own significance. Around the world, those who observe Lunar New Year will practice various rituals to ensure that the coming year is full of luck, fortune and good energy.
Despite being popularly referred to as Chinese New Year, estimates reveal that one-sixth of the world’s population celebrates it, and that includes those outside of China. It is considered one of the most prominent festivals across the globe.
In the Philippines, many Filipinos, particularly those of Chinese descent, recognize this new year holiday, with the government even designating the first day as a non-working day.
The festivities are abundant across the United States too. In Southern California, some events include the annual Lunar New Year Festival in Alhambra (Feb. 9) and a special new year performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Feb. 6 and 7), as well as tailored displays and special promotions at malls like The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Westfield Santa Anita in Arcadia and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.
Significance of the pig
The pig (boar) — whose recent years are 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, and 2019 — is the 12th of the zodiac animals. In 2019, it is the year of the ‘earth’ pig.
“The year of the pig will bring harmony and there will be plenty of wealth,” World of Feng Shui owner Peter Lung shared with the Asian Journal. “It will be a peaceful year starting from May, [but] there will be disagreement in the first quarter of this year.”
Feng Shui Master Pun-Yin told the Asian Journal that the “overall rhythm is to recover and reconstruct” since it is the last of the 12 signs.
“For those with the spiritual and relationship support, the draining and depleting energy could be minimized,” she added.
Many Asian cultures regard the pig as a symbol of wealth and fortune. The characteristics and traits of the earth pig include being hardworking, nurturing, sociable and trustworthy.
Those born in the year of the pig will experience a “continuous awakening from the shock of the Earth Dog that started on Feb. 4, 2018 and ended on Feb. 4, 2019, which, sunk many emotionally and financially,” Master Pun-Yin said. “When things get tough, the tough gets going, transforming deeply in order to get through the storm and [it will] be more down to earth going forward.”
As for what this year will bring for those of other animal years, Lung said that Rooster, Dragon, Ox, Rat and Dog years will experience “excellent luck.” Those who were born in Tiger, Sheep and Monkey years need to pay attention to their health. For horses, they should control their temper and avoid legal matters, while snakes should lay low and budget their spendings, and rabbits “will have windfall luck and a good year for investment,” Lung said.
Pigs are most compatible with tigers, rabbits, and sheep, while they clash with snakes and monkeys, according to the Chinese zodiac.
All 5 elements (metal, water, wood, fire and earth) are present, said Lung, so 2019 looks like a good year to “team up with others for a new project.”
“Fire businesses, such as casino, entertainment and internet business, will capture lots of money luck. Water businesses including spas and transportation will have [a] big increase [in] profit,” Lung explained. “Earth businesses such as real estate need to have proper planning and strategies. Metal businesses, such as jewelry, banking and insurance are weak, it is not the right year for big risks. Wood businesses…will be slow…[and] should think long-term when planning.”
How to prepare for the new year
The days leading up to the Lunar New Year are essential. Like a common ritual for the January 1st New Year, decluttering — whether at home or at work — will help create space for the new year.
However, cleaning should be done way before the first day of Lunar New Year because the superstition is that you could sweep away good luck.
Other preparations include settling debts, not saying negative words and avoiding the breakage of glass or ceramics.
Lung recommends placing a red carpet or lighting a candle at the center of the home would in order to attract wealth and luck, as well as positioning a water fountain or fish tank at the East and center of the home.
On Sunday, February 3, Master Pun-Yin advises that individuals visit a place that has religious or spiritual significance or one with good energy.
“Prepare…through donation, prayer, meditation and quiet sitting, and allow the body, mind and spirit to relax and be whole,” she said. ”Pray for clarity, empowerment and protection throughout the new Lunar Zodiac cycle and beyond.”
On the eve of Lunar New Year, Monday, February 4, Lung said to bring in green plants or fresh flowers to your home.
Master Pun-Yin further explained that on the eve, one should wake up earlier to have time to prepare the home with new flowers. For an entire year, starting on Feb. 4, three different tones of flowers (except white) should be placed in the North or South directions of the home or workplace to align with the positive energy in the year of the Pig.
At 11:14 a.m. on that day, be near the flower to “tune into the divine and calming energy to embrace the arrival of a new cycle with confidence and optimism. When you feel your heart is settled, go back to your work routine,” she said.
Before bedtime, again tap into the flowers’ energy and repeat your prayers and intentions in order to “sleep more soundly and wake up more refreshed” in time for the new year.
“For those who know how to nurture the mind and spirit, they would have the alertness and strength to ride over the storm of the depleting energy boar,” she said.
Most families hold a reunion dinner at night and that is when they exchange gifts, like the ubiquitous red envelope. It is common to stay up late until the new year.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year on the 5th, Master Pun-Yin suggested tapping into the positive energy mentally through an early prayer by the flowers before going about the day.
“This way, you maximize your chance to overcome challenges because you are humble enough to seek the divine connection and good Feng Shui to support you through a turbulence period of this Boar cycle that is full of conflict and fluctuation because on Feb. 4, 2019 at 11:14 a.m. is the energy of the ‘Fire’ and ‘Water’ colliding into each other,” she described.
Lung also recommends opening the window or door from North to welcome the God Of Wealth and Northeast for God of Happiness. “Traditionally we will roll oranges from the front door in the morning, it means that the gold (color of the orange) will bring into your house wealth and luck,” he said.
In the subsequent days, many follow certain rituals like visiting in-laws (Feb. 6). From Feb. 16 to 18, this is the time when people prepare for the Lantern Festival, which is the 15th day of the new lunar calendar (Feb. 19 this year).
What to avoid in the new year
Master Pun-Yin advises that in order to have clarity of the mind, one must avoid filling the mind with irrelevant information and issues of other people.
“When your mind is calm, you would know the importance of building the reserve, being conservative and not react out of fear just because you need more financial security,” she said, adding this year’s cycle calls for being “flexible, creative, persistence and sizes every opportunity that could secure the standing…[so] don’t take [a] risk and let the ego or emotions get the better of you.”
In order to preserve one’s energy, she also says to avoid individuals, events and activities that are draining and can bring out your anger.
“When your core energy is strong through good Feng Shui that balance your own Five Elements Profile (Chinese Astrology), you could excel even when others are confused,” she said.