|It's the Chinese New Year of the Horse|
Brace yourself for a wild ride. When the Chinese New Year comes in on February 12th, the astrologers predict a year of activity and change.
The Chinese astrological calendar follows a twelve-year lunar cycle, with each year named after an animal. New Year 2002 ushers in the Year of the Horse. As with all New Years, it's a time for change and renewal, and a time to put aside the bad things of the previous year. This horse year is expected to bring more change than normal, decisiveness without much forethought, and possibly regrets later on. The home fires will be burning low since everyone will be too busy to tend them.
If you're the slightest bit superstitious you'll take the opportunity of another New Year celebration to do what you can to invite good luck into your life. I'm not Chinese, but I'll take all the lucky opportunities I can get! Entertaining family and friends is one good way to greet the New Year. Here are some of the other Chinese traditions for welcoming the New Year and creating good fortune in the year ahead.
- Clean your home as thoroughly as possible during the days preceding the New Year to sweep away the bad luck of the year that's ending.
- DO NOT clean your home during the first few days of the New Year. You do not want to risk sweeping away the good luck of the New Year.
- Try to see as many of your family and friends as possible during the New Year celebration to spread good wishes for the coming year.
- Serve and eat as many lucky foods as possible on the New Year. Some of these foods are whole fish, noodles and mandarin oranges. If you're not adventurous enough to cook Chinese food, most Chinese restaurants offer special New Year menus.
- Don't cry on that day or raise your voice to your children or you'll be setting a tone of discord for the coming year.
Decorate your home in red, the Chinese color for good luck.
If you plan to host a Chinese New Year party, besides decorating with red, incorporate horses into your decor this year.
Toy horses can be found in practically every toy store. If you have small children, it's likely they have a few horses hiding in the toy chest or under their beds. A little horse at each place setting would serve as a lucky and whimsical decoration.
Buy a horse-shaped cookie cutter and make horse-shape cookies to serve with dessert.
Give a miniature horse packaged with a fortune cookie as party favor.
Happy New Year!