During this Lunar New Year period, traditional news and social media provide a lot of coverage about the Chinese Spring Festival. There are usually articles about the 12 zodiac signs.
To the common man in the street, it is already a challenge to remember all 12 animals of the zodiac, as compared to me who has been working in this profession of Feng Shui and Ba Zi, who has this information on my fingertips. It is a bit more technical, as they are called the 12 Di Zi / Earthly Branches, but I will write this in a simple to understand way.
Many by now will be familiar with the 5 Elements of Chinese metaphysics, or wú xíng. These 5 elements are not static, they are dynamic in that they are constantly interacting with each other.
There is a circular sequence of "producing in":
Wood -> Fire -> Earth -> Metal -> Water -> Wood
And a circular sequence of "controlling in"
Wood -> Earth -> Water -> Fire -> Metal -> Wood
The "producing in" circular sequence is used for the Chinese calendar. For each of the 12 zodiac signs, we pair them up with one of the five elements, resulting in a total of 60 pairs (technical name sexagenary cycle). So, for example, for the Pig sign, there are:
Metal Pig, and
Hence the title of this article, 5 Elements 5 Pigs.
Just as an interesting aside, the 60 pairs represents a full cycle, which is why in Chinese customs, the 60th birthday is a big celebration. It celebrates the completion of a full cycle of 60 years, and it is called 六十大寿 (60th grand longevity). *edit 10 Feb 2019
There is Mathematics in using the 5 elements and the 12 zodiac signs even though they seem to be non-numerical nouns. When you follow the "producing in" sequence of the 5 elements on the paired Pig signs, you can count in multiples of 12.
For example, Wood comes before Fire, and so we know that someone born in the year of the Wood Pig is 12 years older than the Fire Pig. As Earth comes after Fire, we know that the Earth Pig is 12 years younger than the Fire Pig.
In reality when you see a young adult and a teenager together who say they were both born in the year of the Pig, this method of pairing up the zodiac signs with elements can help us deduce that they are either 12 years or 24 years apart in age, plus judgement on how physically old they look like.
And if you can further memorise the sequence of the 12 zodiac signs, you can work out people's age by knowing their zodiac signs; which is useful for making conversations. This is very different from the western Gregorian calendar that uses numerical system. The Chinese calendar system may use Chinese characters, but in the end the calculation of age is still mathematical, just that numbers are not used to denote the year.
If you are interested in Chinese metaphysics, then you have to take it a step further by memorising the 12 Di Zi names of the zodiac signs, because that is the universal language that all practitioners use in Ba Zi birth charts and Feng Shui methods.
zǐ - Rat
chǒu - Ox
yín - Tiger
mǎo - Rabbit
chén - Dragon
sì - Snake
wǔ - Horse
wèi - Goat
shēn - Monkey
yǒu - Rooster
xū - Dog
hài - Pig
One last fact to end this article, the Pig or Hài is the last sign of the 12 in sequence. Next year, the circular sequence starts at zǐ or Rat again.
All the graphics in this article are produced by me, Mr. Chua and the article is written by me. If you want to reproduce in part or full, please quote origin Pure Feng Shui, Mr. Chua and the web site address.
I was going to write a detailed article about the recently developed superstition here in Singapore about Li Chun day that spread like a virus, but I think the two graphics above will give you a better picture on why not every Li Chun day is "auspicious" for your "lucky lucky" activities.
I think many had caught my hint about the "Element Termination Day" in my earlier article in December about the starting time for Li Chun day (that it is not at 12 midnight).
If you are asking me what will I be doing today? I'll take the Chinese almanac advice to do my little bit of "spring cleaning" and "de-cluttering".
In the 1987 movie "Wall Street", the character Gordon Gekko is quoted as saying: ""Greed, for lack of a better word, is good." and "captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind."
I can be said to be, sometimes, greedy for life, love and knowledge, but definitely more than that other one.
Note: For article re-sharing or part reproduction, please include origin - Pure Feng Shui by Mr. Chua and the web site address. I do not own the full copyright for some of the photos that I have clearly indicated the source from.
Popular question asked at this time of the year: what is my lucky colour?
Answer: There is no one-size-fits-all colour that is auspicious to anyone and everyone!
Green - Red - Yellow - White - Black
One of the things on the "to do list" for the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities is wearing new clothes for the new year, at least for the first day of the new year. This is in line with the symbolic meaning of new year new beginnings. And so, high on the prep-list for the Chinese New Year is shopping for new clothes.
And that leads to the question - what colours should one wear when visiting relatives and friends for Chinese Lunar New Year?
Here are 3 helpful themes to base your fashion shopping on:
(1) Colours of the Year
(2) Spring, and
(1) Theme - Colours of the year
For 2019, year of Ji Hai / Earth Pig, the 2 main elements of the year are Earth and Water, with colours represented by Yellow and Black respectively. There is a little bit of Wood element hidden in the Pig sign also, represented by the colour Green.
I "copped" (millenial term that I learn on Instagram - basically means "liked and bought") this pair of sneakers at Selfridges during my December and early January winter vacation in London. Originally I was thinking of wearing this pair of shoes for the live interview at the BBC London studio, to illustrate the elements of the Chinese New Year in a user-friendly manner to the general television audience. In the end I decided to go for a simpler visual tool - a yellow (earth colour) flower corsage (that I managed to find at the Victoria and Albert Museum gift shop) on my black (water colour) suit.
(2) Theme of Spring
In Singapore, where we do not experience the four seasons in a year unlike the countries with temperate climates, it feels a bit odd to talk about Spring and the other seasons. Our seasons here are either hot and wet, or hot and hot! Nevertheless, Chinese Lunar New Year is the Spring Festival, celebrating the arrival of Spring.
For your fashion shopping for the Chinese New Year, the theme of Spring can be seen in floral prints, leaf prints, jungle prints, pineapple prints (very millenial now and auspicious) or light pastel colours.
(3) Theme of Red colour
Events in the Chinese calendar are divided into 2 groups only - referred to as "Red" or "White" events. Celebratory events like festivals, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions are considered as "red events"; while sad events like funerals fall under "white events". The Chinese Lunar New Year Spring Festival falls under the "red event" group and so that is why you see that the main colour is red. All the new year decorations that you see in homes, shops and shopping centres are red, red and more red.
Red is a fail-safe colour for your Chinese Lunar New Year shopping. Just go for a simple red top! You cannot go wrong with red colour for celebratory Chinese events.
Note: For article re-sharing or part reproduction, please include origin - Pure Feng Shui by Mr. Chua and the web site address. I do not own the copyright for some of the photos that I have clearly indicated the source from.
Presentation talks for Chinese Lunar New Year
I had just got back into Singapore on the 14th of January, and strangely enough I got over the jet lag really fast this year. This was a topic of discussion in London over lunch and I had commented that it helped if there was a tight work schedule to follow upon landing. I must say I was under a bit of pressure to work on the brochure note for the talk, from content to design, all done personally by myself while fighting the jet lag.
It is less than 2 weeks to go before the Chinese Lunar New Year arrives on the 5th of February. What's next on my schedule? Spring Cleaning. And a bit more time to write some posts about my long 3 weeks of winter vacation in London.
I like to travel on Xmas Day as the flight is usually quite empty, and I can have a whole row in cattle class to myself. Unlike my ex-university classmates who travel by self-paid business and first class seats, I travel by economy class. This is something of a trade-off when I decided to leave the corporate 9 - 5 executive life for the rocky roads on this self-employed trail.
Museums, Musicals, Street Art, Art Galleries, Architecture and Shopping.
On the Chinese luni-solar calendar, Dong Zhi / Winter Solstice is the 22nd solar term that will begin on Saturday, 22nd of December, 2018 at 06:22 Măo hour.
This is a day that has many related Chinese festive customs, as it usually signifies that winter has set in. In Singapore, it is usually a 拜拜 (prayer) day either to ancestors at the home prayer table or a trip to the temple. The food associated with this day are sticky chewy rice dumplings, usually eaten as a dessert in a sweet broth. In northern China, they eat steaming hot savoury dumplings. Given the cosmopolitan nature of the foodie culture these days, you can create your own festive Winter Solstice feast with a meal of dumplings followed by sticky rice balls dessert. The auspicious meaning of the dumplings is that of getting together, a reunion of family members.
Here is a simple explanation for those not familiar with technical terms. In the hexagram above, look at it as 6 layers stacked on top of each other. A whole line in one layer is Yang while a broken line in one layer is Yin. In the picture you can see the bottom line is Yang, while the 5 lines above are Yin. Simple, understand?
I was at the Sheng Hong Temple at Arumugam Road last Sunday and took quite a lot of photos of the Tai Sui Thanksgiving event. I was nursing a cough/flu and decided to go as I had done my Tai Sui prayers earlier this year for the current Chinese Lunar Year 2018.
The process was simple, just prepare $3 to slot into the box in the photo above and the temple helpers will hand you a set of paper offerings, a pack of Chinese tea leaves and prayer biscuits. If you don't have exact change, there are 2 notes changing machines just around the side. The simple instructions from the helpers is just announce your name, birth date and address, and use 3 sticks of incense for the prayers.
You can pour the pack of tea leaves and biscuits into the big red plates in the photo above. I got 3 sets, one for myself, my mother and my partner.
After the prayers, go to the furnace to toss the prayer papers into the fire. And that's it, quite a simple process.
Here are the other photos I took.
I am Mr. Chua, just your regular guy in Singapore who likes to travel a lot, and happen to be very well skilled in Feng Shui and Ba Zi Profile.
My articles take a while to write as I have to check for accuracy and grammar.