As a person born of Chinese heritage, the Lunar New Year was like my version of Christmas. You had the constant feasting, the red envelopes filled with cash and the garish red and gold decorations hanging off every hook, door and corner.
It was great.
However, my infatuation with the holiday stopped there. I ate the food, and the days and days of leftovers that would remain, bowed diligently while taking my red pocket, and spent Chinese New Year (which this year falls on the 16th of February) strategically avoiding cleaning up. It ‘throws away’ the bad luck you see.
The day just came and left.
Then, last year while working in fashion retail, a very distraught girl ran in looking for something gold, gold jewellery to be exact. She said that awful things had been happening to her, and was told by her family’s fortune teller (some more superstitious families will have these) that this year was going to be ominous.
She was born in the year of the rooster, and it was her ‘birth year,’ which according to Chinese folk lore brings a year of bad luck.
However, now 12 months later, it’s the year of the dog, where those born after mid-February (roughly) in 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958 or 1946 will be experiencing the same fate.
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Speaking to Doctor Xiaohuan Zhao (Huan) – an expert in Chinese literature from the University of Sydney, he said that this folk legend is still believed by many today.
He says that those born in the year of the dog have the following traits – loyalty, sensitivity, a conservative attitude, a lot of energy, and cautiousness.
And when it comes to your ‘luck’, those born in the year of the dog, could made you more susceptible to certain misfortunes, says Huan.
“Traffic accidents could be one of them,” he says.
“It could also be quite easy for you to fall ill, particularly in the area of your bowels, appendix and stomach – these are the physical problems.”
However, emotionally you could suffer too, explains Huan.
“If you’re in love, than it is said that you need to be cautious because it’s likely for the relationship to fall apart. Financially too, the year could make you suffer the loss of money. If you run a business, then it’s said that your business could go bankrupt.
Despite this there are preventative measures you can take... most peculiarly by wearing "red undershirts."
"You can consult professional seers [fortune tellers] or fengshui masters that will re-arrange the furniture in your office or house, but wearing red undershirts is very important."
When asked whether the addition of a red lippy, or jacket would also suffice, Huan specified that it must be red underwear... "because it protects your body."
"Red is a lucky colour in Chinese culture," he explains.
"There are a lot of theories why, but it's believed that it wards off evil spirits and brings in good luck, and is associated with the ancient worship of the sun, fire, human sacrifice (like blood)..." cheery.
So whether you're celebrating with family, or watching afar in your local Chinatown, have a Happy Lunar New Year and make sure you grab a bowl of longevity noodles and eat some dumplings (for luck, we swear).
However, if you're born in the year of the dog... then you know what you need to do.
See you on the flip side.
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