If, for some reason, you missed New Year’s you have one more chance to celebrate. Chinese New Year falls each year on the New Moon between January 19th and February 23rd and this year it’s happening on January 23rd. It’s a great day for clearing out the clutter of the last year, setting your intentions for the new year and doing activities to bring luck, love, fortune and good health.
There’s a story connected to one of the Chinese New Year’s traditions. It’s said that a rich farmer named Zhang left his devoted wife for a young and greedy mistress. Soon the excessive indulgences of Zhang and the mistress exhausted all his wealth. Seeing he had no more money the mistress left him and Zhang became a homeless begger. He wandered through his village so weak from starvation that one day he collapsed in front of a small house. When he awoke hours later in the garden there was a feast before him. He ate and days passed and every morning he woke to the most wonderful food in front of him. Now feeling nourished and healthy again and feeling such gratitude he wanted to thank his benefactor and so he snuck into the kitchen of the small house. There he recognized his wife and he was so ashamed he jumped into the hearth and fire. His wife tried in vain to douse the flames but Zhang’s ashes flew up to the heavens.
It is said that this tale was told to the Jade Emperor who declared that Zhang would be “the kitchen god”. Many Chinese families have a paper image of the kitchen god in their kitchen. A week or so before Chinese New Year they smear honey on the lips of the kitchen god so he will give a good report of them. They burn the image to send his spirit to heaven. And then on New Year’s eve they hang a new image of the kitchen god to watch over the cooking and household budget for the year.
If you would like to read about what 2012 Year of the Water Dragon has in store for you my eBook is on Amazon.