Lately the posts that are getting more comments have been the ones that have to do with my Garden Window and that has made me not only very happy, but has inspired me to do more designs this year. Big Thanks for everyone who has seen my posts and added comments!
Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 10th and while there are many celebrations preceding this date, I don't know much about them. But I can tell you I learned a lot as I was planning my decorations.
On a sunny Saturday morning I made my way through estate and garage sales, thrift shops and a gift shop in the City Heights area of San Diego and without spending too much money found great treasures for my decor!
2013 is the Year of the Snake and in honor of it I bought a small jade snake, a small wooden one and one with little coins on the back.
"In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs and many western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called inner animals), by day (called true animals) and hours (called secret animals)."
The best matches: Ox, Rooster, Dragon
Matches: Rat, Rabbit, Monkey, Snake, Horse, Goat, Dog
No Match: Tiger, Pig
Previous Years of the Snake:
14 February 1953 – 2 February 1954
2 February 1965 – 20 January 1966
18 February 1977 – 6 February 1978
6 February 1989 – 26 January 1990
23 January 2001 – 11 February 2002
The Chinese take out box is actually a small purse with a mirror and pockets inside. The silver fortune cookies are guest name holders, and the mandarin oranges are the most popular fruit in this time of year, they represent luck or fortune. During the Lantern Festival (Feb 24) unmarried girls will throw mandarin oranges into the sea, a river or a pond to find a partner.
The red envelopes are very important in this celebration, "they are are passed out during the Chinese New Year's celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is also common for adults or young couples to give red packets to children."
"Red packets almost always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. Per custom, the amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals. The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes in the US. The number six is also very lucky as it sounds like 'smooth', in the sense of having a smooth year. Sometimes chocolate coins are found in the red packets."
I bought the Crystal Tree on the left many years ago in Hong Kong and until now I know what it means:
"Real-life wish-fulfilling tree is a common sight in many Asian countries (such as Hong Kong or China). Believers will toss wishes enscribed on red incantation papers at the tree, accompanied with juicy mandarin oranges; these “wish trees” will then make the wish come true. Since olden times, the wish tree has been a potent tool, used to summon better health, wealth, and family harmony. There are many Chinese texts which show that coins grew from the branches of the wish tree and fell into a bountiful treasure bowl. It is for this reason that people keep the Crystal Tree, in the hopes that they will always have enough fortune in their lives."The Lanterns are the traditional ones used this time of year and the Chinese Doll was an extremely lucky find deep inside a thrift shop, isn't she beautiful?
"The story behind the Crystal Tree is that a heavenly fairy, Shang Ziyie, travelled to Earth with the intents to marry Chooi Wen Lui, a small village commoner. Because they had little money, the fairy fostered a magic tree, which created coins. It provided her family with the means to survive, and also assisted the other villagers when they gave it a shake. In modern days, a small Crystal Tree is displayed in homes and offices, to signify a steady profit and everlasting financial support."
And now I'm looking forward to the next decoration....Mardi Gras!
I completely forgot I had real Hong Kong money I brought back as a souvenir from a trip I made there almost 10 years ago. So I went ahead and added them to my decor and to the red envelopes...this time next year I'll be loaded with money!
- Wikipedia - Chinese Zodiac
- Wikipedia - Chinese New Year
- Wikipedia - Chinese Calendar
- Feng Shui Mall
- A friend of Chinese descent
- The lady at the gift shop