Monday, January 23, 2012
Tết - Happy Lunar New Year!
Across the country, special offerings were made for the family ancestors who were believed to rejoin their families at this time and children would come to kowtow before their parents in a show of filial piety and would be given a special coin wrapped in silk to symbolize a wish for their longevity from their elders. A great deal of noise would be heard as people symbolically drove away the previous year, and any misfortune attached to it, to welcome and make room for the happiness of the new year. The legendary Jade Emperor would appoint a new spirit for the year which the people would revere with special ceremonies and in appreciation the spirit was supposed to grant good fortune to the people and spare them from undue suffering. A special bamboo 'trap' was put outside the doors of homes to catch evil spirits while a basket was set out to collect offerings for the good and beneficial spirits. Special plants, pictures and other decorations would adorn every house to show the wishes of the inhabitants and evil spirits would be banished with noisy firecrackers. There was also a holiday from housework so as to avoid sweeping out lucky spirits along with the dust. Today children traditionally get red envelopes of money from their elders.
Again, a happy Year of the Dragon to all.