Friday, 3 February 2017

Ushering in the new energy of Spring

Chrysanthemums are used in the cleansing ritual because they are affordable, widely available and are ‘yang’ – they need exposure to the sun.

In ancient China, a Spring ritual would mark the start of the planting season. The Emperor would use a whip to touch an ox to symbolically coax it to plough the land, says Sinologist Dr Lai Kuan Fook. The ceremony, witnessed by government officials, was a reminder to farmers to prepare for the season, he says.

“The event was held on a plot of land close to the palace after Chinese New Year celebrations. The Emperor wanted to remind the people that the winter holidays were over, and herald the arrival of Lap Chun (Cantonese, or Lichun in Mandarin) or the beginning of Spring,” he said.

Traditionally, Chinese New Year is celebrated around this time. Farmers often celebrate the beginning of Spring with village-wide events. They also make offerings to the gods in the hope of a blissful and prosperous new year.

Chinese New Year day may occur before or after Lap Chun. A year without Lap Chun is regarded as a year without Spring. It is also regarded as a “widow year” in northern China or a “blind year” in southern China. Some Chinese regard it unlucky to get married in a year without Lap Chun, although many Chinese these days do not observe this.

In China, it is said that Lap Chun has been celebrated as a Farmer’s Day since 1941.

In Singapore, some people rush to deposit money into bank accounts on Lap Chun in the belief that such a practice would bring them good fortune.
Jessie Lee says we must be practical in observing the various rituals associated with Lap Chun.

These days, some Chinese regard Lap Chun, which falls today (the date is usually Feb 3 or 4 each year), as “another first day of Chinese New Year”, says Lee.

However, unlike the actual first day, this day is not really observed or celebrated by many local Chinese even though it may fall within the first 15 days of the Lunar New Year. Often, Lap Chun goes by unnoticed.

Feng shui masters, however, consider this day to be auspicious and advise people to tap into the good qi (energy) of the first day of Spring.

According to Jessie Lee, a Chinese metaphysics expert, the Chinese calendar is divided into two types: the lunar calendar, based on the position of the moon, and the solar calendar, based on the position of the sun.

“The first day of Chinese New Year, which most Chinese celebrate, is based on the lunar calendar. But under the solar calendar, the first day of New Year is Feb 3 (starting at 11.35pm),” she says.

She says some Chinese conduct rituals or prayers on this auspicious day “to set ourselves on a positive note and get good vibes to usher in a new year”.

“This year’s eighth day of the New Year falls right after Lap Chun,” she says. “It will be good for us to usher in good luck by performing some positive rituals.”

Some people go overboard by banking in money at odd hours following the auspicious time chart, believing that they would gain more wealth by performing this ritual.

Lee’s advice is to be practical in observing rituals. For instance, she asks, would you bank in money in the middle of the night?

Instead, she feels that we should usher in the new energy of the new year. To do so, we need to cleanse ourselves to get ready for it.

For example, if we have negative energy with us, it’s difficult to allow the positive energy in – hence the “spring cleaning” before Chinese New Year.

“We clear the clutter so that new, positive energy can enter our home,” explains Lee. But, she adds, most of the time, we forget to clear our own energy as well.

So this Lap Chun, consider these steps to do just that.

The power of positivity

Have a bath with flowers of seven different colours on Friday night (midnight to be exact).

Many people have heard about this “seven-colour flower cleansing” but do not know its meaning.

“Buy seven different types of chrysanthemum flowers. We use chrysanthemums because they are affordable and widely available,” she says.

Use any type of flowers that are yang. This means flowers that need, or are not sensitive to, exposure to the sun.

Chrysanthemum needs at least six hours of sunlight a day. So flowers that require long exposure to sunlight are considered yang.

“The seven colours of flowers should be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white,” says Lee. “These are the colours that also relate to our chakras, or the energy fields of the human body.”

Red is to clear fear and anxiety and to enable stability and good health.

Orange flowers are to clear guilt and insecurities. They also signify happiness, joy and creativity.

Yellow chrysanthemums are used to get rid of shame and for strength, courage and willpower.

Green flowers are to get rid of grief, loneliness and shyness, and to hope for love, peace and acceptance.

Blue flowers are used to clear away lies, gossip and criticism. They indicate hope for truth and smooth communication.

Purple chrysanthemums are to clear illusion and denial and enable intuition, creativity and insight.

White flowers, Lee says, are used to clear one’s ego, scepticism and difficult thinking. In place of these, one hopes to have peace and wisdom.

Besides bonding with close family members, some Chinese would light firecrackers and prepare dishes or desserts that symbolise harmony and abundance (such as nin ko or sticky glutinous rice cake) and share them among family, Lee says.

She adds: “Such joyous and happy moments are not money related.”


No comments: